X-37B Mission Remains Secret

Air Force officials declined to comment on speculation that the US military is using the X-37B spaceplane currently on orbit to keep tabs on Chinese activities in space, as a recent press report indicated. USAF spokeswoman Maj. Tracy Bunko told the Daily Report that officials were “really uncomfortable talking about specific orbits and missions” of the X-37B because they are classified. This Boeing-built spaceplane, the second X-37B in the series, is a “technology demonstrator,” known as Orbital Test Vehicle-2, that the Air Force launched into space last March. It is conducting “on-orbit experimentation to meets its test objectives” in low Earth orbit, said Bunko. Britain’s Spaceflight Magazine suggested in a recent article picked up by the BBC that the X-37B might be monitoring Tiangong 1—China’s recently launched space laboratory—noting similarities between the two objects’ orbits. However, MSNBC contradicted that claim, quoting a former USAF orbital analyst who said the orbits actually are quite different. “I would go as far as to say, ‘no chance,'” Brian Weeden, a technical advisor with Secure World Foundation, told MSNBC.