SECRET SPACE PROGRAM SHOWS ITS HAND
Source: Zen Gardner
Secret Space Program Shows Its Hand
Monday, June 11th, 2012
by Zen Gardner
Who dumps technology more advanced than NASA on to NASA and thinks nothing of it? This admission of at least this segment of a secretive space program is quite revealing. It will probably slip by mainstream media, but sit up and take notice, this is a serious admission here.
NASA gets two military spy telescopes for astronomy
(Washington Post) The secretive government agency that flies spy satellites has made a stunning gift to NASA: two exquisite telescopes as big and powerful as the Hubble Space Telescope. They’ve never left the ground and are in storage in Rochester, N.Y.
It’s an unusual technology transfer from the military-intelligence space program to the better-known civilian space agency. It could be a boost for NASA’s troubled science program, which is groaning under the budgetary weight of the James Webb Space Telescope, still at least six years from launch.
Or it could be a gift that becomes a burden. NASA isn’t sure it can afford to put even one of the two new telescopes into orbit.
The telescopes were built by private contractors for the National Reconnaissance Office, one of 16 U.S. intelligence agencies. The telescopes have 2.4-meter (7.9-foot) mirrors, just like the Hubble, but they have 100 times the field of view. Their structure is shorter and squatter.
They’re “space qualified,” as NASA puts it, but they’re a long way from being functioning space telescopes. They have no instruments — there are no cameras, for example. More than that, they lack a funded mission and all that entails, such as a scientific program, support staff, data analysis and office space. They will remain in storage while NASA mulls its options.
“It’s great news,” said NASA astrophysics director Paul Hertz. “It’s real hardware, and it’s got really impressive capabilities.”
The announcement Monday raised the obvious question of why the intelligence agency would no longer want, or need, two Hubble-class telescopes. A spokeswoman, Loretta DeSio, provided information sparingly.
“They no longer possessed intelligence-collection uses,” she said of the telescopes.
- SECRET SPACE PROGRAM SHOWS ITS HAND - Mother_Of_The_World, 2012-06-12, 17:48