Monday, March 06, 2006

Blackstar - The secret spaceplane gets grounded?

Aviation Week is reporting that a secret spaceplane program known as Blackstar, after being in operation since the 1990s, may have been grounded due to budget cuts.

Please note: the photo above is NOT the secret plane. The plane above is the XB-70 which may be similar in appearance to the secret plane. The other aircraft in the photo is an X-15. I found this picture in the NASA Image eXchange(NIX).

If you want a better look at the XB-70, check out the movies in this NASA archive.

According to the story, the capablities of the Blackstar are still unconfirmed, but it may have been used to release a smaller spacecraft to perform missions such as intelligence gathering or even satellite launches.

Now I have a question.

If this spaceplane program exists and has been shut down, what is going to happen to all the hardware? Are they going to just mothball it?

Maybe they could sell it to Sir Richard Branson, paint some corporate logos on the side of it, and then put it to use as a spaceplane for the rich and adventurous. If it is a proven working system, then it should be ready to go. All that would have to be worked out is a price for a ticket.

That is...if the aircraft exists in the first place.


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