It's time for a bit of speculation/conspiracy theory.
You may or may not know what the X-37 is, but suffice it to say, it's the most secretive and mysterious object in our sky that we know exists anyway.
This is a robotic mini-shuttle that can hit Mach 25. It's small enough to be launched on a rocket, which means it can enter orbit without anyone really knowing when or where. It can then stay in orbit for 9 months, and then return to earth.
Now, here's where the speculation comes into play.
Generally, space rocks and rockets emit heat of sorts (the "space term" escapes me), and this was all public information on where it happened and when, etc. It basically allowed anyone anywhere to track rocket activity.
Oddly enough, right before the X-37 launch, this published data has now been classified
and nobody can access it.
Why does this pertain to X-37? Well, it uses rockets to maneuver itself in space. What this means is that, under the previous published data, people could track movements of this thing, and now they cannot.
It means that via rocket launches (like the one on the Californian coast), we can send this thing into space and nobody has any idea.
Once up there, it can fire its rockets to change orbit and remain undetected. It also means it can re-enter the atmosphere and remain undetected.
So now you've got a super secret aircraft that can change its location at will and basically nobody can keep track of it.
Here's the kicker... This thing has a payload. I think part of the reason we don't care about the shuttle anymore is we simply don't need huge satellite launches anymore. You can put a handful of small satellites which work in a network
in the X-37, and it can secretly deploy them over the Pacific where nobody is watching and they can do things no "massive" satellite ever could. Once the mission is done the X-37 can re-collect these satellites and go home. Or it could collect them and re-deploy them in a different orbit later on.
Note, we do have one satellite, the Misty satellite
, which is also maneuverable not not nearly as flexible as the X-37, that nobody has been able to find for YEARS, especially now that the data has been classified.
What does this mean? Possibilities are endless but it's a whole new era of "hmmmmm".