Not too long ago, the reusable unmanned space drone X-37b was placed into orbit by the US Air Force Space Command (who tweet here). After ten minutes, the live feed of the launch was severed and the NASA-originating drone moved into the secret part of its mission. No longer referred to by official sources – but that doesn’t mean it has gone invisible.
Amateur satellite watchers kept their eyes on the skies for any signs for the suspected spy drone – and now they think they’ve found it. Shining as bright as magnitude 2.5 in the sky (similar to an average-moderate brightness star in a dark sky), the apparent speed, brightness, known mass, direction and all have been computed and an orbit of 40 degrees inclination and 400-425 km altitude.
The satellite, which is believed to be capable of switching smaller satellites in space, will be making appearances in the evening skies of the northern hemisphere soon enough, so keep your eyes peeled. For times of passes of this and other satellites, including several other known spies, check out Heavens Above to see who’s looking at you.