Dutch astronomer captures image of flying American secret space plane X-37B

Ralph Vandebergh
Ralf Vandebergh

Ralf Vandebergh, a Dutch astronomer has apparently captured the image of US Air Force's secretive X-37B space plane after vigorously searching it for months. The astronomer revealed that he captured the photograph of this secretive space vehicle on June 30 and July 2.

The Dutch astronomer claimed that he captured the stunning photographs using a 10-inch F/4,8 aperture Newtonian telescope equipped with an Astrolumina ALccd 5L-11 mono CMOS camera. He also made it clear that the tracking was done completely manually using a 6×30 finder scope.

"When I tried to observe it again in mid-June, it didn't meet the predicted time and path. It turned out to have maneuvered to another orbit. Thanks to the amateur satellite observers' network, it was rapidly found in orbit again, and I was able to take some images on June 30 and July 2," said Vandebergh, Live Science reports.

The astronomer added that he is pretty much impressed by the level of detail he was able to capture on the spacecraft. As per the astronomer, the secretive X-37B space plane also known as Orbital Test Vehicle (OTV) is basically the miniature version of NASA's space shuttle.

The initial launch of the OTV was carried out in 2010, and the space plane spent more than 224 days in the orbit. The current OTV which is now in the orbit is actually the fifth mission under this project, and it is being there in the skies since September 07, 2017.

Speculations regarding the real purpose of this space plane have been the hottest debating topic among conspiracy theorists for years. In 2012, several conspiracy theorists claimed that X-37B was being used to spy on China's Tiangong-1 space station module. Some other conspiracy theorists believe that this space plane has some mysterious alien connections.