Yes, it looks old fashioned and it has a lot of ads. But it's full of interesting stuff, like the photo of last Tuesday's total solar eclipse taken from Moon orbit by Longjiang-2.
The site is run by Dr. Tony Phillips, a high school science teacher in Bishop, California, and occasional writer for NASA. His students launch balloons to the edge of space and run science experiments on them:
The balloon rises until it pops, the payload parachutes down and the students scramble across the desert to pick it up.
To finance the missions, they fly jewelry, golf balls, stuffed toys and trinkets on the balloons and sell them in their online shop. Or you can sponsor one of their research flights for $500, send up whatever you want and get a video of your item in flight.
Maybe I can get a few ham radio operators together to send up some kind of radio experiment. Sounds like great fun for us, as well as sponsoring the student research.
I think Dr. Tony's students will do some great things in their careers!
Of course it would also depend on things like weight limits on the balloon and what won't interfere with the student research packages (or maybe even collaborate with them?), but let's keep in touch!
To clear things up- ephemeris (orbit parameters) are published for many satellites, but not for the X-37B. It had to be found by some educated guesses and a lot of staring at the sky.
 To be fair, some "amateur" astronomers use very high end equipment.
There is a whole lot of difference between an amateur being able, once in a blue moon, to track something and a military duty desk being able to track everything, all the time, and get it imaged/located/whatever in seconds to minutes, every time.
Many US spy satellites are virtually untrackable because of the Vantablack S-VIS paint they use, which reflects only .2% of the light that hits it. You have to literally look for the missing stars that should be behind it.
Other sats make this even harder by hiding behind giant mirrors that reflect empty space from a 45 degree angle down to earth.
Hubble-class spy sat imaged, i think by same person: (2010)
The picture of an old CRYSTAL bird is probably the closest thing to the OP in terms of difficulty. The satellite is big and in LEO. The difference between what Ralf did then is that CRYSTAL satellites move less often, so once someone finds them you have more time to wait on good weather. With the X-37, Ralf missed his first shot and by the time he was ready for another try it had already moved, and they had to find it again. That is super tough.
If you have no idea where something went, then the sky is very big and your telescope has a very small field of view, especially if you need to discriminate between different satellites that you see. The fact is, there aren't many techniques for finding secret stuff in orbit. You have two methods (but choose a wavelength)- passive and active- and maybe hacking into a space agency and just stealing the information from a computer. Passive means staring at a lattitude long enough until your satellite passes by and hope you spot it (if it doesn't you either missed it or it has a lower inclination than here you were looking). A smart person might get a computer to help them with the watching, but the task is the same. The problem is that the X-37 is real easy to miss. Even if you see something, it might not be the particular satellite you're hoping for, so you have to filter out all the unwanted things you don't want (usually you can match unwanted things up to known orbits). And even when you see the X-37, you've got to jump on it and track it so you can figure out the new orbit. Active methods are pretty much just radar, and that's out of reach for every amateur astronomer. They might be able to scrounge up some giant apertures but they'll never have the tx power. It's pretty incredible that people are able to do this.
Things get exponentially easier when you've got more hands and eyes on the problem - not to say its not a difficult task, but lets remember - a group of people put it up there (that was pretty hard) - and now a group of people are tracking it.
And a previous HN story from 2017:
But yes, the ISS is awesome, there’s still great stuff happening in space exploration. But I do miss the space minivan.
The combination of needing human crew for every single mission and not having an launch escape system (something basically every other rocket had) wasn't a great compromise.
The only way the "public" will ever get to visit space is if the cost of launches is reduced, which is something that governments have been almost universally terrible at.
Look at this image: https://proxy.duckduckgo.com/iu/?u=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.hjkc.de...
I think the black tiles are not visible on the photo, this makes the cargo bay "protrude". The stairs on the tail than also begin to make sense.
Most likely it is for messing with other countries’ spy satellites.
Also, if sent to space with a more powerful launcher, technically it could probably reach a Lagrangian point, even (slowly but efficiently) leave it. It would then probably burn out on re-entry with to much velocity, that would be the issue I'd say.
"This", so far, has stuck to low earth orbit.
It has some similarities in its heat shield, the wings and the runway landing, but as a tiny robotic vehicle that doesn't need fast turnaround because it's in space for many months at a time many of the problems of the space shuttle don't apply.
If you won't use that capability, then providing it is a huge waste.
I don't know about 'stop and go' though, that's usually called 'takeoff and landing'.
Not cubesats. You need some sort of an engine and an orientation mechanism. You can forgo the engine if you only want to play around with drag via orientation, but the average cube/nano sat moves, falls, along the same path as any other bit of metal up there.
There are other methods to deorbit like tethers, but due to reliability they're not used often
Doesn't that complicate mobility/control?
The thruster can gimbal/pivot, and the software already has to measure the current center of mass of the vehicle because payloads etc affect it enough to make you go in circles. So accounting for an offset thruster might not even be a software change since it's a parameter the software already has to find automatically.
Also note how the main engines of the space shuttles are really far offset at launch and fire at a weird angle to compensate.
To borrow an XKCD-ism, space isn't high so much as it's fast. You have to go very very fast to stay in orbit, and if you were to attempt to slow down and stop whilst orbiting, you'd essentially be executing a de-orbit burn and would find yourself re-entering the atmosphere.