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America’s Space Fighter: New Threat To Humanity

By Zhengyan Fang

28 May, 2010
Takungpao-Hong Kong (Chinese, 5 May 2010 )

Translated By Daniel Kuey, Edited by Alex Brewer

People have too much reason to worry about the U.S, its pursuit of absolute superiority in space, and its attempt to build up an absolute dominance at a height from which it can threaten the globe.

In the film, "Star Wars," fighter spacecraft do battle in space. This may soon come to pass. An American Air Force space fighter listed as top secret is currently being tested. The pilotless X-37B fighter took its maiden test flight into space from Florida. The challenge is that the X-37B is not simply a reusable space fighter; it is America’s secret weapon. And it can attack any target on the globe within two hours. This is more dangerous than a nuclear warhead!

The Successful Test Flight of the X-37B

Not long ago, the U.S. developed the X-37B, the world’s first space fighter to be successfully launched into space. The Atlas 5 rocket carried out this launch mission. In a war, the X-37B would have the ability to carry out military operations against satellites of enemy countries and their aircraft. This would include controlling, seizing or destroying enemy aircraft, as well as carrying out military reconnaissance against enemies and so forth. With its mission accomplished, the intention is for it to glide back to land automatically. The X-37B is not suited for an astronaut. It carries out many types of missions automatically in air and space.

The U.S. air force refused to reveal what missions were carried out during the maiden flight of the X-37B. At present, after the X-37B launches, it enters into earth’s orbit, but it is undetermined for how long. After returning from space, the X-37B will enter auto-pilot mode to return to earth by finally landing at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California or, as a backup, the nearby Edwards Air Force Base.

Though only a small aircraft, the X-37B space plane is a U.S. military secret at the highest level, although the U.S. military has repeatedly stressed that the main purpose for manufacturing the X-37B is scientific research. Yet once exposed, the X-37B project could raise violent responses. Some military experts call it "the first prototype space fighter." This project has a clear military purpose and may further exacerbate the militarization of space.

For instance, the X-37B may strike or interfere with satellites, because it is equipped with a robotic arm for seizing satellites, as well as spreading electromagnetic interference and disabling a satellite’s normal functions. In addition, it can place into its payload bay all kinds of cargo and weapons, and it can carry out long-range precision strikes.

In the outside world, little is known about the X-37B. Still, it is known that a low-cost aerospace shuttle was developed by NASA and Boeing in 1999 as a reusable space fighter. But it was shelved in 2004 because of funding problems. Instead, it was taken over by the U.S. air force and turned into a top-secret military project. The X-37B's propulsion is actually not very complicated. It uses a rocket-propelled aerospace vehicle. Once it has flown up to a certain elevation, the rocket drops off and the space plane operates automatically. But the secret lies in its speed. It is capable of evading radar with a top speed of 25 times the speed of sound, thus escaping the ties of earth’s gravity and reaching the outer atmosphere and into orbit. Furthermore, the X-37B carries solar panels and is capable of performing space missions for up to 270 days.

Future space fighters will be able to take on missions in the military domain, of which there are several primary aspects: One is reconnaissance; another is a type warfare involving strikes from space and countering satellites and missiles. Because it has flown extremely fast, other nations do not mention intercepting it, because the fighter is barely perceptible.

Shuttling Capabilities in Space

The X-37B’s first success in flight immediately drew intense scrutiny from the world's airline, aerospace and military sectors, as well as from the media.

Over many years, the U.S. has possessed aerospace vehicles that can be used to go back and forth between space and land repeatedly. In comparing the launch of this X-37B spacecraft with that of the space shuttle, the difference is first of all in transport capacity. The space shuttle can transport large aerospace equipment into space with a payload capacity of about 40 tons, while that of the space plane is only five tons. The greater distinction in the X-37B is that it is unmanned. So there is no need to consider the survival environment in space or to necessitate sealing the cabin. The flight principles of the X-37B and those handed down from the space shuttle are not the same. The X-37B can shuttle between "aero" and "space," like skipping stones on water, circling around the earth in low altitude orbits at 30 km to 100 km.

Outfitted with weapons, it would be an entirely new platform for warfare. Some media will regard it as a "fighter spacecraft"; that is, as long as it is allowed to carry weapons, it can be regarded as a fighter spacecraft. Outfitted with different equipment, it could turn into something for civilian use, as well as for military use. In this regard, some experts also envision it — if the X-37B were allowed to carry electromagnetic weapons into space — providing for the total destruction of a satellite, grabbing satellites with its claw and launching missiles toward the earth's surface. In general, many things are possible on this platform.

In any case, this weapon platform flitters about, so it cannot be targeted. There is basically no way to aim at a space plane that "jumps" back and forth in space. So launching an attack down at earth would be quite simple, because there are very few obstructions in space. The maneuverability of this space plane is tremendous.

Pursuing Superiority in Space

Bolstering the exploration of outer space is worthy of applause, but the U.S. must understand and respond to the safety concerns of Russia, China and the many nations of the world. U.S. developments in space are already supporting the integration of many regional wars. Exalted space technology is being used to destroy military and civilian enemies. These are all facts. Some world media are maintaining, not without reason, that the U.S. is known as "the sole nation to use space technology in actual combat."

Similarly, in early April in Washington, D.C, Obama publicized the idea of a nuclear-free world. Yet, on April 22, the U.S. had people worried about a highly difficult maneuver in space. The main danger to humanity is the possibility of a heavy nuclear weapon diverted at any time, possibly from a conventional warhead, and dropped from the heavens. People have too much reason to worry about the U.S, its pursuit of absolute superiority in space, and its attempt to build up an absolute dominance at a height from which it can threaten the globe.

An enormous military space system is being heaped together through technology and funding that no country in the world can presently hope to match. So far as America’s space system for combat is concerned, it will directly weaken Russia’s strategic military deterrence. A former military commander of the Russian air force has openly expressed worries that Russia will become another Iraq. And he calls upon Russia to set up a new space defense system to answer the challenge.

The U.S. is evidently bringing a new sense of urgency to the world. The X37B will be a new threat to humanity.