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So it appears we have gone from the Stone Age to the Drone age, in the man -- beast's ultimate quest for superior, technological stupidity. In a way, it reminds me of the 1950's atomic frenzy, "Yes, one day I'd own a nuclear lawn mower, which would never need fuel!" It's the Frankenstein principle; we should know better, but we don't. Just because we can, doesn't mean we should. You can't fight progress, but is this really progress? So let's drone this and drone that, deliver up drones to deliver up pizzas. Microsoft drones which won't fly correctly and will need a patch. Google drone's watching everything and everyone, patched directly to any government agency with an alphabet title.
The Bush administration and Congress thought it would be a really cool idea to outsource our space program; the military however, did not. So while we're planning our next peaceful steps in space at a dollar down and a dollar a week, the military is moving full speed ahead. The X-37 or XB-37 or whatever you want to call it, is a space drone. Now watch how the professionals launder money. In 1999, Boeing was awarded a contract to build an orbital test vehicle. Over the next four years, NASA would spend 109 million civilian dollars on the project, with the Air Force only kicking in $16 million. In 2004; control of the project was transferred to the Defense Advanced Research Agency, here in known as DARPA.
Wait, where did our money go? The civilian space agency pays most of the freight and the military just walks away the spoils? Well yeah, that's pretty much the size of it. Immediately after becoming property of DARPA, the XB-37 becomes a classified project. A tiny unmanned space shuttle not even 30 feet long, on a mission to"? Say, what was is its mission again? The military needs a robotic space drone, because why? Well, the answer is never you mind why, wiser and cooler heads have decided two things, they want this and never you mind why, because if we don't, the bad guys will.
"Space, the final frontier, these are the voyages of the starship"gee, I guess it didn't work out the way we thought, did it? But, back to the original question, why? To spy perhaps, to look obsessively for the things an obsessive state would look for? But the XB-37 is like the vegematic, "Wait, there's more! It's a spy plane! It's an unstoppable, hypersonic vehicle, capable of carrying and delivering a nuclear weapon or two, anywhere on the globe in 45 minutes." Now unstoppable is a relative term, unstoppable unless, you have your own robotic space plane to shoot down our robotic space plane. It's Dr. Strangelove meets the Red Baron and nobodies paying attention.
There are treaties (Laws who follows laws?) against weaponizing space, against placing nuclear weapons in space, problem is, there's no sheriff. Yes, we must trust to the good graces of US military to not do anything unlawful. Our level of trust so high, we do it on the honor system. More to the point, it's the reason the space pioneers outlawed weapons in space, in the first place. The Air Force Space command explains the vehicle will be used to refuel spy satellites and do repairs with its robotic arm. Yet, the missions have extended to 469 days, 469 days for an orbiting gas station in space, washing the windshields and checking the oil on our satellites?
The vehicle has the capability of changing its orbit and pursuing, basically anything it likes. Now imagine; you're a third world country or an emerging economy. You don't have the money for space drones and might only have a miniscule presence in space. The XB-37 -- becomes a bully in space, with the ability to cost you millions with no possible way to retaliate. Vote the way we suggest at the UN or your communications satellites might develop anomalies. Let me show you what I mean,