Another of the Air Force’s $1 billion X-37B space planes has blasted off from Florida into space, but no one can quite figure out why.
The launch marked the Air Force’s third in three years. The military will only say that the planes are performing undisclosed experiments during their orbits, bringing data back to Earth with each venture. A live webcast of the launch was cut off after just 17 minutes so the plane could begin its classified mission.
Speculation abounds about the “new technologies” the unmanned planes are testing. Industry watchdogs said the lack of a human crew likely ruled out scientific uses for the planes—and the possibility that they have spying capabilities set off protests from China, which says it will launch planes of its own.
Whatever the case, the enormous expense for the project guarantees the question will remain open even after the missions are completed.
TODAY IN SLATE
Here’s Where We Stand With Ebola
Even experienced international disaster responders are shocked at how bad it’s gotten.
Why Are Lighter-Skinned Latinos and Asians More Likely to Vote Republican?
A Woman Who Escaped the Extreme Babymaking Christian Fundamentalism of Quiverfull
Subprime Loans Are Back
And believe it or not, that’s a good thing.
It Is Very Stupid to Compare Hope Solo to Ray Rice
In Defense of HR
Startups and small businesses shouldn’t skip over a human resources department.