Author Topic: Boeing to use Orbiter Processing Facility-1 for X-37B OTV  (Read 14075 times)

Offline collectSPACE

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Boeing to use former space shuttle hangar for secret space plane
http://www.collectspace.com/news/news-010414a-x37b-shuttle-hangar.html

A former NASA space shuttle hangar will serve as the new home and servicing facility for a fleet of secretive military space planes.

The Boeing Company announced on Friday (Jan. 3) it will begin converting Orbiter Processing Facility-1 (OPF-1) at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida to support the U.S. Air Force X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle (OTV). Built by Boeing's Phantom Works, the winged X-37B resembles in some ways a smaller version of NASA's shuttle with a 15-foot (4.5 m.) wingspan.

The move to use OPF-1 will "enable the U.S. Air Force to efficiently land, recover, refurbish, and re-launch" the 29-foot-long (8.8 m.), reusable unmanned spacecraft, Boeing officials said in a statement.
« Last Edit: 01/04/2014 04:29 PM by collectSPACE »

Offline yg1968

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Thanks for the article. It would be great if the X-37B also used the Shuttle Landing Facility.

Here is another article on the same topic:
http://www.floridatoday.com/article/20140104/SPACE/301040013/KSC-lands-secret-X-37B-space-plane-jobs
« Last Edit: 01/04/2014 04:04 PM by yg1968 »

Offline Star One

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Boeing to use Orbiter Processing Facility-1 for X-37B OTV
« Reply #2 on: 01/04/2014 04:36 PM »
This had been on the cards for a while now hasn't it, sure I saw something about this proposal in Spaceflight magazine last year.
« Last Edit: 01/04/2014 04:37 PM by Star One »

Offline Flightstar

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Re: Boeing to use Orbiter Processing Facility-1 for X-37B OTV
« Reply #3 on: 01/04/2014 04:50 PM »
This had been on the cards for a while now hasn't it, sure I saw something about this proposal in Spaceflight magazine last year.

It's been reported numerous times as a likely option by NASAspaceflight.com, for a few years. Do a search.

Here's a thread for the 2012 story.
http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=30182.0
« Last Edit: 01/04/2014 04:55 PM by Flightstar »

Offline collectSPACE

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Re: Boeing to use Orbiter Processing Facility-1 for X-37B OTV
« Reply #4 on: 01/04/2014 05:06 PM »
Suggested? Yes. But before Friday it wasn't confirmed or official.
« Last Edit: 01/04/2014 05:10 PM by collectSPACE »

Offline Jester

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Re: Boeing to use Orbiter Processing Facility-1 for X-37B OTV
« Reply #5 on: 01/04/2014 05:19 PM »
Nice to see its finally official, now lets hope they grab the SLF too.

Offline Star One

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Re: Boeing to use Orbiter Processing Facility-1 for X-37B OTV
« Reply #6 on: 01/04/2014 07:03 PM »
It suggests that the X-37B program has a lengthier future than just a few test flights. Wonder if they will manufacturer more vehicles, considering how long they stay in orbit perhaps they might keep more than one in orbit at once.

Offline Blackstar

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Re: Boeing to use Orbiter Processing Facility-1 for X-37B OTV
« Reply #7 on: 01/05/2014 10:04 PM »
It suggests that the X-37B program has a lengthier future than just a few test flights. Wonder if they will manufacturer more vehicles, considering how long they stay in orbit perhaps they might keep more than one in orbit at once.

Which only emphasizes the question of what are they doing.

This is obviously an operational, not experimental mission. And the fact that it is USAF and not NRO is unusual for such a classified mission (although it is entirely possible that USAF is merely the cover for NRO).

Offline Lars_J

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Re: Boeing to use Orbiter Processing Facility-1 for X-37B OTV
« Reply #8 on: 01/08/2014 04:16 PM »
It suggests that the X-37B program has a lengthier future than just a few test flights. Wonder if they will manufacturer more vehicles, considering how long they stay in orbit perhaps they might keep more than one in orbit at once.

Which only emphasizes the question of what are they doing.

This is obviously an operational, not experimental mission. And the fact that it is USAF and not NRO is unusual for such a classified mission (although it is entirely possible that USAF is merely the cover for NRO).

It is likely both, isn't? An operational vehicle to test experimental payloads for extended periods in space.

Offline Star One

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Re: Boeing to use Orbiter Processing Facility-1 for X-37B OTV
« Reply #9 on: 10/30/2014 05:30 PM »
Quote
KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. — After a 22-year hiatus, NASA and the U.S. Department of Defense are resuming a partnership for a classified program that will be based at the Kennedy Space Center.

NASA flew secret missions for the military 10 times between January 1985 and December 1992, setting up a separate firing room, blacking out communications and abiding by a host of restrictions and operational procedures to accommodate the Defense Department’s demand for secrecy. This time around, NASA intends to be nothing more than a host for the Air Force’s classified X-37B program, which will lease two of the space shuttle’s mothballed processing hangars.

“It is different from shuttle. It’s not the same vehicle that has to flow through the [Vehicle Assembly Building] and that does a lot of the same shuttle operations [as nonclassified missions]. X-37B is basically a separable capability in one facility,” Scott Colloredo, director of KSC’s Center Planning and Development Directorate, told SpaceNews.

Rest on link.

http://www.spacenews.com/article/military-space/42367nasa-prepares-to-host-hush-hush-military-program-at-ksc

Offline Jim

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Re: Boeing to use Orbiter Processing Facility-1 for X-37B OTV
« Reply #10 on: 11/14/2014 01:17 AM »
Standard back of OPF bay.  Notice door.
« Last Edit: 11/14/2014 01:23 AM by Jim »

Offline Jim

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Re: Boeing to use Orbiter Processing Facility-1 for X-37B OTV
« Reply #11 on: 11/14/2014 01:22 AM »
Modified back of OPF bay
« Last Edit: 11/14/2014 01:23 AM by Jim »

Offline Helodriver

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Re: Boeing to use Orbiter Processing Facility-1 for X-37B OTV
« Reply #12 on: 11/14/2014 01:38 AM »
As small as these vehicles are, the fact they are getting two OPFs only makes sense if the fleet is expanding or a larger follow on vehicle is planned.

Offline sdsds

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Re: Boeing to use Orbiter Processing Facility-1 for X-37B OTV
« Reply #13 on: 11/14/2014 02:21 AM »
So is it reasonable to conclude the content of the X-37B payload bay is orientation sensitive before launch? It requires vertical integration not only with the LV but also with the spacecraft?

Also, is the front door of the OPF already high enough for X-37B to roll out encapsulated and vertical?
-- sdsds --

Offline Jim

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Re: Boeing to use Orbiter Processing Facility-1 for X-37B OTV
« Reply #14 on: 11/14/2014 02:28 AM »
As small as these vehicles are, the fact they are getting two OPFs only makes sense if the fleet is expanding or a larger follow on vehicle is planned.

They are only getting one.  Another is for CST-100 and one is unclaimed.

Offline Jim

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Re: Boeing to use Orbiter Processing Facility-1 for X-37B OTV
« Reply #15 on: 11/14/2014 02:32 AM »
1.  So is it reasonable to conclude the content of the X-37B payload bay is orientation sensitive before launch? It requires vertical integration not only with the LV but also with the spacecraft?

2.  Also, is the front door of the OPF already high enough for X-37B to roll out encapsulated and vertical?

1.  I wouldn't say so.  The vehicle could be serviced horizontally and then rotated vertical for encapsulation.

2.  I don't think so.  Why else would they install a new door that is sized for an encapsulated X-37 to leave. 
Notice the AC duct rework. 

Maybe there is an airlock installed on the other side.  Opening the front door, opens the whole facility to the outside.
« Last Edit: 11/14/2014 02:34 AM by Jim »

Offline Mike_1179

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Re: Boeing to use Orbiter Processing Facility-1 for X-37B OTV
« Reply #16 on: 11/14/2014 04:17 AM »

Maybe there is an airlock installed on the other side.  Opening the front door, opens the whole facility to the outside.

That would assume the inside of the OPF would now be a clean room, right?

Offline Helodriver

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Re: Boeing to use Orbiter Processing Facility-1 for X-37B OTV
« Reply #17 on: 11/14/2014 05:48 AM »
As small as these vehicles are, the fact they are getting two OPFs only makes sense if the fleet is expanding or a larger follow on vehicle is planned.

They are only getting one.  Another is for CST-100 and one is unclaimed.

The linked article above states they're getting two.    "The X-37B program, which currently consists of two nearly 9-meter-long robotic spaceplanes, is taking over Orbiter Processing Facility (OPF) bays 1 and 2. "

I trust your firsthand knowledge more than a random reporter though.

Offline Jim

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Re: Boeing to use Orbiter Processing Facility-1 for X-37B OTV
« Reply #18 on: 11/14/2014 10:48 AM »

That would assume the inside of the OPF would now be a clean room, right?

The facility at one time was capable of supporting a clean area.

Offline Mike_1179

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Re: Boeing to use Orbiter Processing Facility-1 for X-37B OTV
« Reply #19 on: 11/14/2014 11:18 AM »

The facility at one time was capable of supporting a clean area.

Would that allow them to do payload processing in there as well as work on the X-37 itself in the same building?

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