Tuesday, October 02, 2012

Air Force launching secretive X-37B space plane in October

Leonard David is reporting at Space.com that the U.S. military's hush-hush robotic X-37B space plane is slated to blast off again this month according to Air Force officials. The mission will test the robotic spacecraft's reusability and may eventually land on the Florida runway once used for NASA space shuttles.

The X-37B space plane 's next mission — called Orbital Test Vehicle-3, or OTV-3, because it is the program's third-ever spaceflight — is scheduled to launch aboard an Atlas 5 rocket from Florida's Cape Canaveral Air Force Station (CCAFS) sometime this month.

And what is even more interesting is the Russians may be watching this launch up from just offshore.

According to a post to a Sep 29 post to the UDXF newsgroup by RHutch on the following CW intercept was heard on 8345 kHz:

08345 RIW DE RJQ84 : 0332z CW 577 20 29 0400 577 = FOR RJH74 RJH45 = 29001 99290 70803 41598 61402 10280 40150 51??? 77036 84243 22200 00260 20000 30000 40000 88000 80000 29017 = + RJQ84 290912

I make it about 30 miles east of Cape Canaveral. My furthest west so far!Also sent previous day's 1800z obs at 0352z RH
RJQ84 is a Russian ship that Russian naval monitoring expert Trond Jacobsen in Norway says is attached to the Russian Navy Northern Fleet. This vessel has been frequently heard with hydrometeo observations on various HF CW frequencies. In February 2010 she was part of a Russian military task force with RMDZ and RFK77.

So is RJQ84 in position to monitor the OTV-3 X-37B/Atlas launch this month?