x-37's mess things up...
Right, first things first. Kudos to the USAF for a successful mission & getting their bird back. Space flight is hard & isn't something anyone should take for granted.
Second, why? What is the purpose of the X-37? Research into spaceplanes, SSTO, materials development, new-and-improved avionics or sensors? If the U.S. military is doing this then ALL results get classified out the wazoo, never to see the light of day & American companies are strongly discouraged from making or researching civilian space-access or usage technology for fear of finding out, or being told, once they're a few hundred million dollars in, that they're impinging on classified technology.
My opinion if the above is true? STOP the X-37, it's blocking cheap safe civilian access to space, or one route to it anyway.
Third, is the X-37 testing weapons? Weaponizing space is a really bad idea. Once the U.S. starts doing it, Russia & China won't be that far behind. More & more guns, more & more automated because the speeds, distances & human reaction times lead that way. Battle of Camlan, anyone?
My opinion if the above is true? STOP the X-37. It's really taking us down a bad road.
Fourth, is the X-37 spying on or observing... stuff? If it is then surely it'd be simpler & cheaper to just launch the optics/sensor package, or a few dozen of them (no way will a couple of dozen of those things break the bank for the NRO. Remember, those guys built a near-Hubble just because they MIGHT have needed it) into orbit, possibly with an enlarged fuel tank if they really need a lot of delta-V, and send up a dozen more each year.
My opinion if the above is true? STOP the X-37, it's a horrible waste of money.
Fifth, is the X-37 intended to (or be the precursor/prototype to something that can) dock with, or disable, or download from, other people's satellites? It seems a bit unlikely to me, but if it is then no politician will EVER authorize the mission. It's not the 50's anymore, the world, the whole world, is watching. You can't steal/pinch/purloin/nick a satellite & bring it home & not have the world yelling about it before it's even touched the runway.
My opinion if the above is true? STOP the X-37. It's a horrible waste of money & will only encourage other countries to build self-destruct devices into their satellites. We really don't need to add to the space debris problem.
So really? STOP THE X-37!