What’s the first thing you think about when you think of NASA’s space shuttle program? Sally Ride? Spinning in microgravity? The Challenger explosion? That episode of the Simpsons? You might not think about the US military and intelligence community launching spy satellites, but you should. NASA’s shuttles were…
If you’re one of the country’s most important spy agencies, you’d probably have a pretty strict list of what documents to keep secret, right? Well, judging from my latest FOIA request, the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) might just be winging it.
Is a launch still clandestine if everyone sees it? Apparently so, as the launch of a secretive payload out on Friday was seen across southern California, yet was totally successful. What the latest secret satellite will do is up for debate, but it has an excellent mission patch.
The HEXAGON satellite spied on America's Cold War foes for over a decade, taking extremely detailed (film!) photographs from space. It was 60 feet long—bigger than a bus. And the public never, ever saw it. We did.