Boeing Studies X-37B Evolved Crew Derivative

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The X-37B lands at Vandenberg AFB on December 3, 2010 (Credits: USAF/Vandenberg Air Force Base).

According to Aviation Week, Boeing is studying scaled-up variants of the reusable X-37B orbital test vehicle (OTV) for potential delivery of cargo and crew to the International Space Station (ISS) and other low-Earth-orbit destinations. The new vehicle would complement the company’s CST-100 crew vehicle. The X-37B evolution study envisages a three-phase buildup. The first would use the current 9 meters long vehicle for demonstration flights to the ISS. According to Boeing, even in this configuration the vehicle would be able to carry items such as the station’s control moment gyros, battery discharge and pump module. The second would use a 165% scaled-up version – about 15 meters – enough to carry line replaceable units (LRUs) to the ISS. The third version would be an upscaled, human rated is version of the vehicle. According toArt Grantz, Boeing’s X-37B project chief, the manned version would be capable to carry five to seven astronauts.

Video: Landing of the X-37B at the Vandenberg Air Force Base.

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About the author

Andrea Gini

Andrea Gini

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Andrea Gini is a scientific journalist and a professional of the space industry, working as a contractor on ISS Payload Safety. He is the Editor-in-chief of the Space Safety Magazine. Andrea is also Chairman of the Information and Communication Committee of the International Association for Advancement in Space Safety (IAASS), publisher of the Space Safety Magazine, and he is responsible for the communication strategy of the association, Andrea holds a BSc and an MSc in computer science from the University of Milano, a Master in scientific journalism from the International School for Advanced Studies of Trieste and a MSc in Space Studies from the International Space University.

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