Okay, so I see an article like this on on AOL. It details an orbiting space plane the U.S. is flying that has been in space for months. Folks speculate it's being used to spy on a Chinese satellite that's the prototype for a manned Chinese Space station expected to be operational around 2020.
If a project like this is showing up in the mainstream media, then you can be sure it has been around a while longer than that. Which means, the Air Force has also had plenty of time to figure out cool things to do with it. And voila, we have a window for a fictional story. I can sit around my kitchen table and brainstorm a few ways to use a platform like this, and odds are good I won't be far from what's actually possible with the thing. People ask me frequently how it is I'm able to write books that seem to stay just ahead of the news, and this is it.
And that concludes my demonstration. :-)