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Uno shuttle militare?

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Boh non ho capito sta frase:The X-37B can only carry less than 1% of the payload the significantly larger Space Shuttles can, ruling out the military using this to do any heavy lifting in space.

 

Ma poi se non ha equipaggiamento "umano", a che scopo fare un veicolo riutilizzabile?

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Vuol dire che la versione B porta meno dell'1% del carico dello shuttle.

 

l'X-37B serve a dimostrare le capacità, ma il prossimo X-37C sarà delle dimensioni del 165-180% di questo, e con un modulo pressurizzato per il trasporto di un equipaggio.

Edited by -{-Legolas-}-

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Futuro derivato dello X-37B .... ulteriori e più ampi dettagli ....

 

Fonte: AviationWeek.com

 

X-37B Vehicle Derivative Plan Revealed

 

 

By Guy Norris, Frank Morring, Jr.

Los Angeles, Cape Town, South Africa (Oct. 11, 2011)

 

 

Amid preparations for key demonstrations of commercial cargo and crew operations to low Earth orbit, Boeing has revealed studies of scaled-up, mini-space shuttle-like variants of the reusable X-37B orbital test vehicle (OTV) which could be used to return to a runway landing.

 

The larger derivative could be developed for potential delivery of cargo and crew to the International Space Station (ISS), with flight tests of the current version paving the way for a more ambitious stretched version, according to the manufacturer. However, NASA appears to be unconvinced by the derivative plan, describing it as a “trial balloon” aimed at gauging the agency’s interest.

 

The development plan is targeted at providing a larger cargo backup to Boeing’s CST-100 crew vehicle as well as a potential longer-term crew-carrying successor. The concept builds on the ongoing OTV demonstration with the U.S. Air Force, the first phase of which ended with the classified unmanned OTV-1’s December 2010 demonstration flight culminating in an autonomous landing at Vandenberg AFB, Calif., after 244 days in orbit. A second mission, OTV-2, is currently under way.

 

OTV-2 has been in space since March 5 and, assuming it has not already been covertly recovered, the vehicle is expected to remain in space until at least mid-October.

 

William Gerstenmaier, who oversees the agency’s Commercial Crew Development (CCDev) program as NASA’s associate administrator for human exploration and operations, says a commercial X-37 is an idea whose time probably has not come. “We’ve got two cargo providers that are making real good progress,” he says. “We’re making good progress with crew, so I don’t think I would deviate much off of those paths until we show that there’s some benefit. So I think it’s some kind of trial balloon on their part to see if were interested, because there’s limited funding throughout the government. So this is a way for them to see if there’s another market.”

 

In an interview with Aviation Week between sessions at the International Astronautical Congress (IAC) in Cape Town, South Africa, last week, Gerstenmaier said the only possible scenario for a shift to X-37 to send supplies and crew to the ISS would be “in extremis” in the event that the other commercial launch alternatives do not go well. Under its CCDev agreements, the agency could only pursue an alternative if a company defaults or stops work.

 

The business case for these companies is really based on their having a good market share, he says. “The 20 metric-ton [capacity] was derived from what they need for a business case to deliver cargo to ISS, and if I give that business case away that erodes their ability to deliver, and that’s not a good thing,” Gerstenmaier says.

 

NASA already has a CCDev agreement with Boeing to build the CST-100 crew vehicle, a seven-seat aluminum capsule that will ride to space atop an Atlas V, and the company official in charge of that work says the capsule will continue to be Boeing’s entry in the commercial-crew arena as the CCDev effort advances.

 

“Clearly, [X-37B] is an option for cargo,” says John Ebon, vice president and general manager for space exploration at Boeing Defense, Space and Security. “There’s work that would have to be done for that to be used as crew. We internally traded when we were looking at going after commercial crew whether to do a capsule or a winged vehicle based on X-37. Based on the risk associated with development in a fixed-price environment of a winged vehicle as opposed to a simple capsule, we chose to go after a capsule.”

 

Ebon, who also attended the IAC, noted that X-37B evolution study team is supporting Sierra Nevada Corp. as a supplier in its effort to build a lifting-body crew vehicle. But that work is firewalled off from the CST-100 effort, and unrelated to the Boeing CCDev entry, he says. Like Gerstenmaier, Elbon sees the X-37 as a backup, particularly as a cargo carrier in case Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) and Orbital Sciences Corp. fail to develop their cargo vehicles. Depending on what happens with cargo providers, it could be a real near-term solution for taking cargo to station, Elbon says.

 

The X-37B evolution study, which harks back to the OTV’s pre-military NASA origins, envisages a three-phase build-up. The first would see the current 29-ft.-long vehicle used for demonstration flights to the ISS. As presently configured, the X-37B, launched inside the 5-meter (16.4-ft.) fairing of the Atlas V, could carry bulky items such as the station’s control moment gyro, battery discharge and pump module, Boeing says.

 

The second phase would see the development of a 165% scaled-up version, roughly 47 ft. long and big enough to transport larger line-replaceable units (LRU) to the station. The larger version would demonstrate operations to and from the ISS, paving the way for a human-carrying derivative in the third phase. This would see a human-rated version transport “five to seven astronauts” says Boeing X-37B project chief Art Grantz.

 

Speaking at the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics Space 2011 conference in Long Beach, Calif., Grantz said, “the next step is a larger cargo vehicle that can deliver and return large ISS LRUs while retiring the risks associated with autonomous transportation of astronauts to and from LEO.”

 

Although many details of the OTV‑1 flight remain unknown—and with OTV-2 shrouded in even more mystery—Grantz says the initial launch was aimed at “making it operate like an airborne test platform.” From a vehicle viewpoint, however, it also successfully demonstrated autonomous de-orbit using “shuttle-style” trajectory and aero-braking maneuvers as well as a “soft landing” on a runway. The test also validated the X-37B’s autonomous guidance, navigation and control system, electro-mechanical flight control system and thermal protection.

 

In addition, during the X-37B’s eight months in space, Air Force controllers demonstrated deployment of the solar wing as well as its subsequent stowage and return for reuse.

 

 

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Ok il fratello maggiore sarà usato per l'ISS.

stavo pensando...acchiappare un satellite nello spazio con l'X-37 per portarlo a fare un tagliando sull terra (benza, olio, marmitta e filtro)... sarebbe conveniente?

potrebbe essere un tipo di missione?

 

E se fregano un satellite ai cinesi??? :sm::lollollol:

Edited by ROBY1

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The first time the military flirted with the idea of a reusable spaceship was the Dyna-Soar project of the late 1950s and early 1960s. The Dyna-Soar, also named the X-20, was envisioned as a piloted spacecraft for anti-satellite, reconnaissance and even space weapons applications.

After Dyna-Soar's cancellation in 1963, the Air Force turned its attention to an ill-fated manned space station called the Manned Orbiting Laboratory. It was cancelled in 1969.

The military contributed to the earliest conceptual designs of the space shuttle beginning in 1971. The Air Force selected Vandenberg to host shuttle launches on polar orbit missions with classified national security payloads.

But the Pentagon scrubbed plans to launch the shuttle from Vandenberg after the Challenger accident. The military's last dedicated shuttle mission launched from Florida in 1992.

"There are a number of differences between our shuttle experience and this bird," Payton said. "Our top priority is getting the bird to orbit and getting it back down again."

Mio Link

 

x37schemaBig.jpg

x37passengerBig.jpg

Sempre nella pagina Mio Link anche l'autore dice che potrebbe "può recuperare un satellite dall'orbita, riportandolo a terra con uno stress non superiore a 2G"

 

Non so i base a quali dati...sarebbe bello sapere se c'hanno già provato col vecchio shuttle :ph34r:

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Mi rispondo da solo STS-57 1993.

Il satellite eureca (european retriveable carrier) viene riposto in stiva dopo un anno nello spazio (STS-46 1992, quella del Tethered.)

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Sempre avvolta nel massimo segreto, la missione del secondo X-37B (OTV-2 o Orbital Test Vehicle-2) prosegue e ....

 

.... the service has no intention of purchasing any more of the winged, reusable vehicles ....

Fonte .... http://www.nationaldefensemagazine.org/blog/Lists/Posts/Post.aspx?ID=721

 

Inoltre .... http://defensetech.org/2012/03/22/just-how-many-x-37bs-are-there/

 

 

2hcpbw1.jpg

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Rientro imminente ....

 

Vandenberg AFB readies for X-37B landing ....

 

US Air Force Space Command is preparing to receive the Boeing X-37B when it descends from a year-long orbit as early as this weekend to land at Vandenberg AFB, California.

Fonte .... qxui6q.jpg .... http://www.flightglobal.com/news/articles/vandenberg-afb-readies-for-x-37b-landing-372490/

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Uno Space Shuttle... militare? :huh:

E in che campo potrebbe esserci utile in questo momento? :huh:

 

Ricognizione, sorveglianza, spionaggio (oggi si dice intelligence), più altre possibilità.

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Ricognizione, sorveglianza, spionaggio (oggi si dice intelligence), più altre possibilità.

Ispezione ed eventuale distruzione di satelliti riconosciuti come "ostili" ?

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Ispezione ed eventuale distruzione di satelliti riconosciuti come "ostili" ?

 

anche !Lle specifiche dello shuttle furono determinate pure dalle esigenze dell USAF e del NRO di poter riparare e /O riportare a terra un satellite danneggiato anziché deorbitarlo o distruggerlo con un SM-3 come accaduto di recente per un lacrosse fuori controllo. per hubble inizialmente era prevista questa procedura

 

durante una missione il columbia inseguì e catturo un satellite fuori controllo ,riparandolo .

 

ma più che rubare e ispezionare i satelliti altrui , cosa difficilissima da farsi con discrezione e pericolosa visto che i satelliti hanno un meccanismo di autodistruzione , è probabile che uno shuttle militare e il suo fratellino più piccolo possano avere compiti di attacco ,sia ad altri satelliti che alla superficie terrestre .

 

l x37B comunque è ufficialmente un test bed per nuove tecnologie , evidentemente gli usa non vogliono perdere il know how legato agli spazioplani , pur tornando alle capsule ''stile apollo''

Edited by cama81

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"Team Vandenberg has put in over a year's worth of hard work in preparation for this landing and today we were able to see the fruits of our labor," said Col. Nina Armagno, 30th Space Wing commander at Vandenberg.

"I am so proud of our team for coming together to execute this landing operation safely and successfully"

Con queste parole il Colonnello Nina M. Armagno (di origini italiane?), prima donna al comando del 30th Space Wing, ha annunciato l'avvenuto felice atterraggio dello "spazioplano" senza piloti X-37B al termine di una missione segreta nello spazio della durata di 469 giorni ....

 

http://www.space.com/16110-secret-x37b-space-plane-landing.html

 

http://theaviationist.com/2012/06/16/air-force-mini-shuttle-returns-to-earth-at-the-end-of-clandestine-15-month-mission-around-the-globe/

 

http://boeing.mediaroom.com/index.php?s=43&item=2293

 

http://www.vandenberg.af.mil/library/biographies/bio.asp?id=15346

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Il mistero permane .... B-)

 

Details of the mission remain secret, just as they were with the first OTV flight.

 

The Air Force, meanwhile, remains secretive about the mission saying only the Boeing-built X-37B conducted “on-orbit experiments.”

Fonte wbe9sn_th.jpghttp://www.aviationweek.com/Blogs.aspx?plckBlogId=Blog:27ec4a53-dcc8-42d0-bd3a-01329aef79a7&plckPostId=Blog:27ec4a53-dcc8-42d0-bd3a-01329aef79a7Post:4f372217-d0b7-4eff-84a7-d2732b4d7393

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In via del tutto ipotetica questo velivolo potrebbe rientrare nell'atmosfera più o meno a piacimento per quanto riguarda la tempistica e, potendo effettuare-entro certi limiti- manovre estemporanee e trasportare contromisure anti missile, sarebbe teoricamente in grado di funzionare da veicolo di rientro per estate nucleari "a prova di scudo spaziale",almeno nelle versione non enormemente sofisticate di cui possono realisticamente disporre Russia, Cina od India

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In via del tutto ipotetica questo velivolo potrebbe rientrare nell'atmosfera più o meno a piacimento per quanto riguarda la tempistica e, potendo effettuare-entro certi limiti- manovre estemporanee e trasportare contromisure anti missile, sarebbe teoricamente in grado di funzionare da veicolo di rientro per estate nucleari "a prova di scudo spaziale",almeno nelle versione non enormemente sofisticate di cui possono realisticamente disporre Russia, Cina od India

 

Da questo punto di vista è possibile che abbiano rivisto a corretto la dottrina Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI) pensata dal Presidente Regan: negli anni '80 non avevano a disposizione i dorni (o almeno non al livello teconologico attuale) e quindi avevano pensato a sistemi d'arma terra-aria. Oggi possono anche variare sul tema.

Però, se questo è lo scopo (o uno degli scopi), almeno un X-37B dovrebbe essere sempre in orbita.

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Ripropongo il video dell'atterraggio ....

 

 

.... in quanto vedo che quello che avevo postato ieri è stato rimosso da YouTube ....

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Terza missione dello X-37B .... continuano i rinvii ....

 

.... dal "Daily Report" dell' AFA di questa mattina ....

 

bhf5g7_th.jpg

 

X-37B Launch Delayed, Again ....

 

The Air Force and United Launch Alliance have postponed the next X-37B mission by an additional several weeks, now eyeing Nov. 27 as the day that an Atlas V rocket will carry the experimental spaceplane into orbit.

 

The Air Force had planned to conduct the launch in October.

 

However, an upper-stage engine anomaly during the launch of a GPS IIF satellite in early October caused service and industry officials to put off the X-37 mission, designated OTV-3, until mid November until the anomaly investigation was complete.

 

http://www.airforce-magazine.com/DRArchive/Pages/2012/October%202012/October%2025%202012/X-37BLaunchDelayed.aspx

 

Now, they are saying more time is needed.

 

"Although the team . . . has been making good progress reviewing and analyzing the data, ULA leadership and the Air Force have decided to postpone the launch two weeks to allow for additional flight-data anomaly-investigation activities and thorough crossover assessment for the X-37B OTV launch vehicle to be completed," states a release posted at ULA's website on Nov. 2.

 

http://www.ulalaunch.com/site/pages/Launch.shtml#/33/

 

OTV-3 will mark the third time that an X-37 orbital test vehicle spends time in space.

 

Air Force officials have said there are no issues with the X-37 vehicle holding up the launch.

 

Tali rinvii sono causati da un'indagine tuttora in corso collegata ad un problema di funzionamento dei motori dell'ultimo stadio di un vettore "Delta IV" avvenuto in occasione del lancio di un satellite della serie GPS ....

 

http://www.ulalaunch.com/site/pages/News.shtml#/121/

 

http://www.aviationweek.com/Article.aspx?id=/article-xml/asd_10_09_2012_p03-02-504193.xml

 

http://www.aviationweek.com/Article.aspx?id=/article-xml/awx_10_12_2012_p0-506328.xml

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L'USAF continua ad indagare .....

 

USAF Still Looking For Cause Of RL10 Low-Thrust Problem .....

 

By: Amy Butler (November 08, 2012)

Source: Aerospace Daily & Defense Report (AW&ST)

 

The U.S. Air Force is not close to finding a root cause of a recent low-thrust problem in an RL10 upper stage engine made by Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne, and the service may further delay launch of its Orbital Test Vehicle-3 mission as well as NASA’s Tracking and Data Relay Satellite System K spacecraft, says Air Force Space Command chief Gen. William Shelton.

 

“I don’t think we are close on the investigation,” he told a small audience during a breakfast here hosted by the Air Force Association. He said the fact that the Boeing GPS IIF-3 satellite made it to orbit was the result of a “bit of a diving save,” owing to a large fuel reserve on the upper stage. “We are hopeful of a smoking gun,” he says, noting work is continuing to narrow down possible causes.

 

Last week, Shelton delayed the OTV-3 mission, which will orbit the X-37B reusable spaceplane prototype, two weeks to Nov. 27. The second delay of that launch, the slip will allow for more investigation time into the RL10 problem. Today, he indicated a further delay is possible and acknowledged that it will have a domino effect on the manifest of launch provider United Launch Alliance (ULA), owing to a limited number of launch crews and pads.

 

The RL10 incident occurred during the Oct. 8 launch of a ULA Delta IV (4,2), which uses the RL10B-2 upper stage. Some officials have suggested it was luck that got the satellite into its proper orbit after ULA officials detected what they call an “unexpected data signature” that pointed to underperforming thrust on the upper stage.

 

OTV-3 and TDRSS are slated for launch on the Atlas V, which also uses the RL10. This booster uses the RL10A version of the upper stage, but it shares common components. The RL10 is a single-point-of-failure for the Atlas V and Delta IV Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicles, underscoring the need to ensure a similar problem cannot happen in the future. “We have to find out what happened and why, because there is no plan B,” Shelton says. “The cost of a launch failure would be staggering,” both in the loss of an expensive satellite and in terms of operational impact because forces have become so dependent on spaceborne services for their work.

 

The recent RL-10 problem tarnishes ULA’s flawless launch record at a time when the monopoly is fighting to keep its position in the market against such upstarts as SpaceX, which has performed two docking missions to the International Space Station this year. The company is clearly after ULA’s Air Force business, and has submitted a plan to the Air Force to certify its Falcon family for use in government missions.

 

Shelton says that whether a mission uses a ULA vehicle or a new entrant design, he is unwilling to reduce funding for mission assurance. Because a satellite loss could be so devastating operationally, “maintaining rigor is actually an affordability play for us,” he says. The cost of mission assurance activities is about 3-5% of the total launch price, he adds.

 

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X-37B: Secrets of the US military spaceplane

 

Now, a third launch is slated for 11 December, according to an Air Force spokesperson, once again ramping up the rumour mill. So, what do we actually know about the plane?

 

Tactical response

Early reports focused on the X-37B’s seeming resemblance, at least in size and weight, to the X-20 Dynasoar (short for Dynamic Soarer), a 1950s-era hypersonic vehicle that was envisioned for a variety of military missions, including bombing and sabotaging enemy satellites. However, experts familiar with the X-37B programme emphasized that its technology is actually closer to the recently retired space shuttle (a fact reinforced by Boeings’ proposal for a crewed version of the vehicle known as the X-37C). The Air Force blandly described the role of the X-37B in a factsheet given to media as a "reliable, reusable, unmanned space test platform”.

The Air Force also says the mini-shuttle has two objectives: testing “reusable spacecraft technologies” and conducting “experiments which can be returned to, and examined, on Earth”. Again, this is similar to the stated aims of the space shuttle. But many forget that earlier craft also had a secret military role. Although ostensibly a civilian program, it conducted a series of missions from 1982-1992 on behalf of the National Reconnaissance Office, carrying a series of classified spy satellites.

Similarly, most outside experts now agree that it’s likely the robotic space plane is being used for some sort of secret reconnaissance. “I think the guess that makes most sense is quick-response tactical imaging, meaning hours to a couple of days from request to delivery,” says Allen Thomson, a former CIA analyst.

Thomson says it is also possible that it could have a more mundane but useful task, such as “maintaining up-to-date general purpose mapping imagery.” However, if that is the case, Thomson says that it could be a waste of money. “I think that the commercial satellites could and should do that cheaper and better than X-37B,” he says. It is a view backed by parts of the scientific community.

Indeed, the X-37B launches comes in the middle of a larger debate about the role of government-operated spy satellites, which have proven enormously costly but can provide some of the most advanced imagery, versus commercial satellite imagery. The US intelligence community recently slashed its budget for commercial imagery, indicating that it was going back to greater reliance on its own classified satellites.

The view that the X-37B is a reconnaissance platform is strengthened by observations from amateur satellite watchers, who track the vehicles’ orbits, and noticed that it has similar orbits to spy satellites and scientific remote sensing craft. In addition, they noticed the craft changing its orbital path several times during its test flights.

This is to be expected, says Joan Johnson-Freese, professor of national security studies at the US Naval War College in Newport. “The upcoming launch will continue just to see what the vehicle can do,” she says. “One of the things they are testing is maneuverability. The problem with satellites in orbit is they are very predictably in certain orbits at certain times, and thus vulnerable to anti-satellite weapons (ASAT).”

Johnson-Freese says the military has long been interested in the ability of a spacecraft that has “the ability to evade, to maneuver, to not be in a predicable place at a predicable time.”

She expects the Air Force will be “pressing the envelope for manoeuvrability and duration” during the X-37B’s next flight. “That will give them the idea of potential missions where avoidance of ASATs comes into play.”

 

‘No weapons’

Although its orbits may be difficult to predict in advance, its tracks show where the X-37B has been and its likely purpose, says Brian Weeden, a technical advisor at the Secure World Foundation, a Washington-based foundation that focuses on space issues.

For example, he says, the X-37B flew at inclination of 42.79 degrees, which tells you how far north and south in latitude the spacecraft can see. “The tradeoff is that something at a 90 degree polar orbit covers the whole world, but its frequency is less; it may arrive only every couple of days,” he says. “If something is 40 or 45 degrees, it would be covering a smaller portion [of the earth], but more often. “

At a 42.79 degree inclination, the X-37B would be useful for looking at a geographic region such as the Middle East, says Weeden, pouring cold water on one theory that that it was used to spy on China’s spacelab, Tiangong-1. And given the current political context, he says, the Middle East “makes sense”.

Weeden also suggests the X-37B’s orbit may indicate that the military is trying out a new sensor system, such as radar imaging or hyperspectral sensors, which collect information across different wavelengths. He suggests this could be the case, because unlike satellites collecting light in the visible wavelength, the X-37B’s orbits are not synchronized with the sun, a trick used to maintain a predictable angle between the sun, satellite and ground.

But, like with many of the theories surrounding the X-37B, he warns, “it is just speculation.”

For its part, the Air Force itself is silent about the plane’s use, only speaking to allay fears that it was a weapon. "I don't know how this could be called weaponisation of space. It's just an updated version of the space shuttle type of activities in space," said Gary Payton, the Air Force's deputy undersecretary for space programmes, in 2010. "We, the Air Force, have a suite of military missions in space and this new vehicle could potentially help us do those missions better."

Whatever its purpose; the X-37B is perhaps one of the few bright spots among the Pentagon’s hypersonic test vehicle programs. The Air Force’s X-51A Waverider, a scramjet powered hypersonic missile, suffered a fatal mishap earlier this year on a test flight, and never reached hypersonic speeds. Separately, another hypersonic prototype, known as the Falcon Hypersonic Test Vehicle-2, suffered mishaps in both flight tests, plunging into the ocean.

Those other efforts, which are focused on creating missiles, are still in early testing phase, while the X-37B is clearly further along.

“I think the one interesting question is whether this is just test and evaluation, or is it being used to be support real world operations,” says Weeden. But like most questions about the plane, it is one that is currently impossible to answer.

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