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Now You See X-37B, Now You Don’t

This sounds a lot more intriguing than it probably is:
US military’s top secret X-37B shuttle ‘disappears’ for two weeks, changes orbit

Since then, the X-37B been arguably the least-secret secret project on the planet, as fellow backyard astronomers joined in the scrutiny, aided by how-to video guides and apps such as the Simple Satellite Tracker.

That is, they did until July 29, when the shuttle disappeared, causing all kinds of consternation and conspiracy theories about its fate.

It took amateur skywatcher Greg Roberts of Cape Town, South Africa, who noticed that it failed to appear as scheduled above his base on August 14, another five days to find it.

When he did, he noticed it was some 30km higher and on a different trajectory, according to calculations from other colleagues in Rome and Oklahoma.

The X-37B’s new track means it takes six days to pass the same spot on Earth, as opposed to its original four-day track.

So it can maneuver, which is interesting but not unexpected. The hype, though, made me think of an old short story from Analog, Jerry Oltion’s “The Getaway Special”

A certified Mad Scientist invents a hyperdrive which can be built out of spare parts and can instantaneously teleport an arbitrary spherical volume of space and all it contains into a vacuum…

Because he’s immensely rich from having invented the perfect battery, he hires space on a Space Shuttle to test his drive – in a Getaway Special shuttle experiment canister – and tests it by taking the shuttle and crew on an unanticipated jaunt.

Heh. If only.

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