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Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Plans for Using Donated NRO Satellites

I had posted this past summer about the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) donating a couple obsolete spy satellites to NASA. Space.com reports that astronomers have come up with plans for using them:
Astronomers are excited by the possibility of using one of two cast-off spy satellite telescopes gifted to NASA to probe for dark energy.

They have already come up with a design that would incorporate the spy telescope into the proposed Wide Field Infrared Survey Telescope (WFIRST), a high-priority NASA mission that would hunt for dark energy, exoplanets and supernovae.

Though a final review and economic analysis won't be released until April, the new design based on the donated scopes would boost WFIRST's abilities significantly, some researchers say. But the concept could also require more power and a bigger launch vehicle, potentially raising the project's roughly $1.5 billion price tag.

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