The joint U.S. Air Force and Boeing project known as the X-37B - the unpiloted military space plane, is gearing up for its first flight in January 2010.
It will be launched on top of a Atlas V Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV) from Cape Canaveral, Florida. Orbit the Earth, then make a auto-pilot landing in California.
The X-37B had its beginings in July 1999 with the Boeing Phantom Works. In 2002, NASA awarded Boeing a $301 million doalr contract to develope the X-37 flight vehicle. It is a 27.5 feet long and 15 foot wingspan, and weighs five tons.
The RE-USABLE space plane is a testbed for dozens of technologies in airframe, propulsion, and operation.
Quoting from that article, "Potential new commercial and military reusable space vehicle market applications for these technologies range from on-orbit satellite repair to the next-generation of totally resuable launch vehciles" source is past Boeing-issued briefing material.
My question to the reading public is this... Why not scale this up for manned space operations? Used the Jupiter Booster design or even the Aries V as the primary booster?
Ref. Space.com June 02, 2009, "U.S. Air Force Aims to Launch Space Plane Next Year" by Leonard David. (http://www.space.com/news/090602-x-37b-space-plane.html)