Will Russia develop a spaceship similar to the American X-37B?

Will Russia develop a spaceship similar to the American X-37B?

Oleg Ostapenko, the commander of the Russian space forces, last week made a hint that Russia could begin work on creating a spacecraft similar in its characteristics to the American X-37B reusable unmanned aerial vehicle. This spacecraft was successfully tested by Americans in April last year. The launch took place on April 22 from the Air Force Base at Cape Canaveral. Then he caused a certain anxiety, surprise, and perhaps even fear among Russian space specialists.

Speaking last week to reporters, Lieutenant General Oleg Ostapenko said that we are developing something in this direction, but only time will tell whether we will use these developments. Meanwhile, the American ship X-37В spent months in orbit 7, performing secret investigations, after which in December 2010 returned safely to earth. At its core, the X-37B is a remote-controlled aircraft that looks like a space shuttle, but significantly reduced. Most likely, the main field of application of this spacecraft is the military sphere.

Many notes in the domestic press about this aircraft were filled with fear. In particular, the journalists asked not completely idle questions: would this ship pose a threat to the national security of the country, would X-37B threaten the Russian satellite constellation, and whether it would be possible to install elements of a space-based missile defense from it.

Vladimir Shcherbakov, an expert from Russia's leading aerospace magazine Vzlet, believes that initially such a device could have been developed to destroy the satellites of a potential enemy. In fact, the X-37B is an analogue of a space fighter. Having such weapons, the attacker can disable many, if not all, of the enemy’s satellites, which provide reconnaissance, navigation and communications, which will immediately render him helpless and possibly lead to panic. Therefore, it is extremely important to know what this spacecraft is intended for and against whom it is directed, at present we do not have a clear answer to this question, the Americans have only notified the world that they are developing new technologies.

Vladimir Shcherbakov believes that with a high degree of probability, Russia is working to create its own spacecraft similar to the American one. The fact that the Kremlin is paying more and more attention to the space program, considering it to be key in strengthening the international image and prestige of Russia, adds to the faith in this, resulting in the infusion of more money into the once-dying space industry.

Despite close attention to the space industry in the past few months, two incidents have spoiled its prestige. So at the end of 2010, three GLONASS-M satellites fell to the bottom of the Pacific Ocean, which prevented the orbital constellation of these satellites completely once again. And on February 1 with embarrassment, the launch of the Geo-IK-2 satellite into orbit was completed. A geophysical satellite that was supposed to work in the interests of the Ministry of Defense instead of a circular one into an elliptical orbit. In this orbit, the satellite is not able to perform any of the tasks assigned to it.

At one time, the mighty Soviet space program, in fact, collapsed in the 1990s. The only of her remaining large projects is currently working as a “space taxi”, delivering cargo and astronauts to the ISS (International Space Station). At one time, the Buran space shuttle was built in the USSR, which was similar to American ships of the same type, but tested it only twice before the program was minimized in 1993. Nowadays, a preserved copy of the Buran acts as a children's attraction, which is installed in the Moscow Gorky Park on the banks of the Moscow River.

True, with increasing funding for space programs, Russian scientists are bringing the industry back to life. In particular, nuclear-powered spacecraft are being developed that could deliver astronauts to Mars, as well as a space gondola similar to the old computer game PacMan, which also works on nuclear fuel that can absorb space debris and possibly act as the Earth’s defense against asteroids.

The development of a space plane in our country can also be useful for servicing the deployed GLONASS satellite system, which is a kind of response to the American GPS satellite navigation system. It is planned to bring the space grouping up to its nominal size and ensure the operation of the system covering the entire globe already this year.

Independent space expert Andrei Ionin believes that Oleg Ostapenko's hint at the appearance of the Russian version of the X-37B is difficult to take unambiguously. If it proceeds from the logic that our space programs with the United States have developed parallel to each other all their lives, this is not excluded. But at the same time, some demonstrations should take place, official statements should be made, while there are only Ostapenko's comments, which may turn out to be just ordinary PR.
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  1. Igor Vladimirovich
    April 13 2012 10: 53
    He already is. Just a secret.
  2. -1
    16 September 2012 12: 17
    One can’t believe in the existence of the Russian counterpart. For too long the space industry has been kept in a black body. Yes, and now funding is clearly not up to the American level.
  3. 0
    2 May 2018 13: 06
    Very strange and large planes came to Chkalovsky in Novosibirsk in a couple .... I didn’t see anything like this - huge with two giant turbines ..... the most interesting thing is that many saw them, BUT not a single mention in the media, although during flights often on NGSe spread the information ... Believe me - it’s better to see once than to read nonsense ...
    1. 0
      2 May 2018 13: 21
      Quote: Cellulite
      the most interesting thing is that many have seen them ...

      ... but not one of them had a cell phone with him. And whoever had - all of them suddenly run out of batteries.
      I believe good
      1. 0
        2 May 2018 14: 24
        Yes, FIG knows, it seems to me that they just didn’t have time ..... I’ll say such a thing, over the years I notice that people are looking less and less up and raising their heads, more and more they are looking at their legs, but they are looking thoughtfully out the window .. .