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US Launches Largest Spy Satellite Ever

Soulskill posted more than 3 years ago | from the technically-not-in-the-world dept.

Space 213

Ponca City, We Love You writes "Space.com reports that over the weekend, a giant booster – a Delta 4 Heavy rocket — carrying a secret new spy satellite for the US National Reconnaissance Office roared into space to deliver into orbit what one reconnaissance official has touted as 'the largest satellite in the world.' The Delta 4 Heavy rocket is the biggest unmanned rocket currently in service and has 2 million pounds of thrust, capable of launching payloads of up to 24 tons to low-Earth orbit and 11 tons toward the geosynchronous orbits used by communications satellites. The mammoth vehicle is created by taking three Common Booster Cores — the liquid hydrogen-fueled motor that forms a Delta 4-Medium's first stage — and strapping them together to form a triple-barrel rocket, and then adding an upper stage. The exact purpose of the new spy satellite NROL-32 is secret, but is widely believed to be an essential eavesdropping spacecraft that requires the powerful lift provided by the Delta 4-Heavy to reach its listening post. 'I believe the payload is the fifth in the series of what we call Mentor spacecraft, a.k.a. Advanced Orion, which gather signals intelligence from inclined geosynchronous orbits,' says Ted Molczan, a respected sky-watcher who keeps tabs on orbiting spacecraft. Earlier models of the series included an unfurling dish structure about 255 feet in diameter with a total spacecraft mass of about 5,953.5 pounds, costing about $750 million and designed to monitor specific points or objects of interest such as ballistic missile flight test telemetry."

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We launched a larger one EONS ago. (2, Funny)

dmomo (256005) | more than 3 years ago | (#34309330)

That's no Moon.

Re:We launched a larger one EONS ago. (2, Funny)

davester666 (731373) | more than 3 years ago | (#34309702)

...that's my stash of CHEESE!

Re:We launched a larger one EONS ago. (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34309832)

It amazes me that so many allegedly "educated" people have fallen so quickly and so hard for a fraudulent fabrication of such laughable proportions. The very idea that a gigantic ball of rock happens to orbit our planet, showing itself in neat, four-week cycles -- with the same side facing us all the time -- is ludicrous. Furthermore, it is an insult to common sense and a damnable affront to intellectual honesty and integrity. That people actually believe it is evidence that the liberals have wrested the last vestiges of control of our public school system from decent, God-fearing Americans (as if any further evidence was needed! Daddy's Roommate? God Almighty!)

Documentaries such as Enemy of the State have accurately portrayed the elaborate, byzantine network of surveillance satellites that the liberals have sent into space to spy on law-abiding Americans. Equipped with technology developed by Handgun Control, Inc., these satellites have the ability to detect firearms from hundreds of kilometers up. That's right, neighbors .. the next time you're out in the backyard exercising your Second Amendment rights, the liberals will see it! These satellites are sensitive enough to tell the difference between a Colt .45 and a .38 Special! And when they detect you with a firearm, their computers cross-reference the address to figure out your name, and then an enormous database housed at Berkeley is updated with information about you.

Of course, this all works fine during the day, but what about at night? Even the liberals can't control the rotation of the Earth to prevent nightfall from setting in (only Joshua was able to ask for that particular favor!) That's where the "moon" comes in. Powered by nuclear reactors, the "moon" is nothing more than an enormous balloon, emitting trillions of candlepower of gun-revealing light. Piloted by key members of the liberal community, the "moon" is strategically moved across the country, pointing out those who dare to make use of their God-given rights at night!

Yes, I know this probably sounds paranoid and preposterous, but consider this. Despite what the revisionist historians tell you, there is no mention of the "moon" anywhere in literature or historical documents -- anywhere -- before 1950. That is when it was initially launched. When President Josef Kennedy, at the State of the Union address, proclaimed "We choose to go to the moon", he may as well have said "We choose to go to the weather balloon." The subsequent faking of a "moon" landing on national TV was the first step in a long history of the erosion of our constitutional rights by leftists in this country. No longer can we hide from our government when the sun goes down.

Re:We launched a larger one EONS ago. (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 3 years ago | (#34310096)

Your bizarre parody (and yes, I loved it) falls down on two major points -- the moon is in fact mentioned in texts older than fifty years (one, the Bible is about 5,000 years old), and my parents were both alive during the Great Depression. Had the oon suddenly appeared then, somebody would have noticed.

Nice parody anyway.

Re:We launched a larger one EONS ago. (0)

Jeremiah Cornelius (137) | more than 3 years ago | (#34310114)

Ha! In Soviet Russia, Satellite Launches YOU!

Re:We launched a larger one EONS ago. (5, Funny)

grcumb (781340) | more than 3 years ago | (#34310152)

No longer can we hide from our government when the sun goes down.

Apocryphal story, but worth telling:

Back in the 1800s, a dignitary once asked a prominent Huron chief, "Do you know why the sun never sets on the British Empire?"

The chief thought for a moment, then replied, "Because God doesn't trust your Queen in the dark."

Re:We launched a larger one EONS ago. (2, Funny)

MonsterTrimble (1205334) | more than 3 years ago | (#34309834)

Article Posted by Soulskill on Monday November 22, @01:33PM.
Death Star quote posted by dmomo on Monday November 22, @01:35PM.

Two minutes? We're slipping.

Re:We launched a larger one EONS ago. (1)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 3 years ago | (#34310076)

... Moon.

Well then you forgot to paint it a stealth color. It stands out like a silvery sore thumb on dreamy, steamy, romantic nights.

Re:We launched a larger one EONS ago. (1)

apoc.famine (621563) | more than 3 years ago | (#34310192)

Actually, the moon is pretty much a stealth color - it's as reflective as well-worn pavement. The real issue is that it's just too big to hide.

YO !!! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34309340)

Yo! Yo!! Yo!!!

Yeah !!

Be real, yall like now be 4 real

Dear Slashdot Editors (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34309346)

Please dispense with the ever. It is REDUNDANT.

Thanks for nothing.

Yours In Osh,
Philboyd Studge.

Re:Dear Slashdot Editors (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34309690)

Incorrect.

Re:Dear Slashdot Editors (1)

Toe, The (545098) | more than 3 years ago | (#34310122)

Not really. If a headline read: "US Launches Largest Spy Satellite," wouldn't you wonder, "largest compared to what?"

The "ever" tells you that it is compared to all other satellites previously launched. Though, sure, "to date" would have sounded more sophisticated." :)

Oops (2, Interesting)

rakuen (1230808) | more than 3 years ago | (#34309348)

The new secret spy satellite isn't much of a secret anymore...

Re:Oops (4, Informative)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 3 years ago | (#34309854)

Well it is hard to keep something 300 meters across in space a secret. Simple truth is that just about everybody that cared knew what type of satellite it was from the launch point and the launch vehicle. A friend of mine works on the Centaur and I saw him on Sunday. I asked how work was and he told me about the upcoming launch.
It went like this.
"Yeah it is going up on a Delta 4 heavy."
"Really DOD?"
"No NRO".

If it is a Delta 4 heavy with a Centaur from the Cape you can bet money it is a sigint bird.
The capabilities are what is secret. But it can probably pick up a cell phone or wifi for geosync.

Re:Oops (2, Insightful)

Idiomatick (976696) | more than 3 years ago | (#34309902)

Even more confusing is why they are bragging that it is big. It is a piece of electronics!

That be like a programmer bragging "I made a printer driver that was 4 GIGS, biggest print driver EVER!". Seriously, bragging about the size is retarded. Then they go on to brag at how awesome of a launch system they needed just to get it into space. Something like "The driver was so bloated people had to buy new computers just to install the driver!"

On a related note, the city of Tokyo is REALLY big. It is such a big spy satellite that we currently have no launch vehicle remotely near being able to lift all of Tokyo into space! It weighs trillions of tons and completely dwarfs the American built satellite. It even has a few million occupants! Amazing compared to the drab unmanned spy satellite that the US has.

Re:Oops (3, Informative)

Bobakitoo (1814374) | more than 3 years ago | (#34310012)

It a spy satellite, that mean watch down the earth surface. It's basically telescope that look down! As for the Hubble space telescope, bigger is better. Contrary to your printer driver, it make sence to brag about how big it is.

Re:Oops (1)

Jeremiah Cornelius (137) | more than 3 years ago | (#34310160)

This is NOTHING!

In old Soviet Union, we had five-year plan. Succeeded to build world's largest microchip! An achievement that stands yet, today and never it has been exceeded.

Re:Oops (5, Funny)

grcumb (781340) | more than 3 years ago | (#34310204)

That be like a programmer bragging "I made a printer driver that was 4 GIGS, biggest print driver EVER!".

A 4 Gigabyte printer driver? Really? Please have your friend contact me immediately!

Snidely Earnest
HR Manager
- Hewlett Packard

Re:Oops (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 3 years ago | (#34310104)

Its existance isn't a secret, but its purpose and workings are.

Commendation (-1, Flamebait)

donaldfleming (1945416) | more than 3 years ago | (#34309354)

Great article here. I have been giving advice to many up and coming business people and have been successful so far. I am Donald Brownlie Fleming, an Australian Entrepreneur, ebook author (Master Selling by Donald Brownlie Fleming) and a Philanthropist. If you have time, maybe you can visit me too. http://facebook.com/donaldbrownliefleming [facebook.com]

Re:Commendation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34309482)

Can I visit you at your house?

Re:Commendation (2, Insightful)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 3 years ago | (#34309532)

Want to learn how to make money selling books? All you have to do is buy my book!

Re:Commendation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34309692)

I'm confused. Is he learning how to make money selling books, or am I?

Re:Commendation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34309594)

If you're so successful, why the fuck are you linking people to Facebook instead of a proper website?

Fehkoff, cock-gobbler.

Oh come on, get real... (1)

Frosty Piss (770223) | more than 3 years ago | (#34309868)

If you're so successful, why the fuck are you linking people to Facebook instead of a proper website? Fehkoff, cock-gobbler.

It's probably not the real "Donald Brownlie Fleming" that posted here at Slashdot, just some asshat who wants to make trouble for the guy.

Re:Commendation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34309870)

Donald Brownlie Fleming

Wow, even your middle NAME says you're full of bullshit. Nice. Are you a FUCKING POKEMON too?

The largest satellite in the world... (2, Funny)

tompaulco (629533) | more than 3 years ago | (#34309368)

...until it was successfully launched.

Re:The largest satellite in the world... (1)

jeffmeden (135043) | more than 3 years ago | (#34309708)

I hope that's not a verbatim quote. He also overlooked the fact that Earth's Moon is a satellite and most likely larger than the spy satellite they launched (The ISS is also likely to be larger, and it too is a satellite.)

Re:The largest satellite in the world... (1)

sznupi (719324) | more than 3 years ago | (#34309852)

Somewhat the other way around - it seems what the official talks about is the physical size of the antenna, deployed after launch (apparently around 100m). When it comes to mass it's apparently quite average, and nowhere near the top - that title certainly goes to the ISS... (yes, yes, "modular" - well, just one major ISS module launched by Proton or Shuttle, or ATV launched by Ariane (to use some examples related to ISS; there are other) is ~2x more)

Also, heavy version of Atlas V is the biggest, for some values of "currently in service" (it never flew yet, maybe never will)

Re:The largest satellite in the world... (0)

RealGrouchy (943109) | more than 3 years ago | (#34309874)

In response, the Russians have announced their response--a satellite so big, they plan to launch the Earth off of it.

- RG>

Re:The largest satellite in the world... (-1)

sznupi (719324) | more than 3 years ago | (#34309952)

In Soviet Russia, Earth launches you?

Re:The largest satellite in the world... (-1)

NotBornYesterday (1093817) | more than 3 years ago | (#34309978)

Um, in Soviet Russia, satellite launches you?

more expense (2, Funny)

He who knows (1376995) | more than 3 years ago | (#34309372)

yet another nearly redundant cold war era satelite is now in orbit.

Re:more expense (5, Insightful)

electrostatic (1185487) | more than 3 years ago | (#34309746)

I'm am American who is proud of our technological superiority over the rest of the world. Meanwhile, every electronic or mechanical device with three or more parts that I own is made in China.

Re:more expense (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34310062)

"I love the smell of freedom in the morning... It smells like, futility."

Re:more expense (1)

c0lo (1497653) | more than 3 years ago | (#34310082)

I'm am American who is proud of our technological superiority over the rest of the world.

Was the pun intended?

In the world? (1)

pulski (126566) | more than 3 years ago | (#34309376)

I do believe that being a satellite means that it is not "in" the world, now doesn't it?

I like big boosters! (4, Funny)

slowhand (191637) | more than 3 years ago | (#34309406)

I like big boosters and I can not lie
You other brothers can't deny
That when a rocket flys in with an itty bitty thruster
And a round thing in your face
You get sprung, wanna pull out your tough
'Cause you notice that booster was stuffed
Deep in the propellant she's wearing
I'm hooked and I can't stop staring
Oh baby, I wanna get with you
And take your picture
My homeboys tried to warn me
But that booster you got makes me so horny
Ooh, Rump-o'-smooth-skin
You say you wanna get in my Benz?
Well, use me, use me
'Cause you ain't that average groupie
I've seen them dancin'
To hell with romancin'
She's sweat, wet,
Got it goin' like a turbo 'Vette
I'm tired of magazines
Sayin' flat boosters are the thing
Take the average black man and ask him that
She gotta pack much back
So, fellas! (Yeah!) Fellas! (Yeah!)
Has your spacefriend got the booster? (Hell yeah!)
Tell 'em to shake it! (Shake it!) Shake it! (Shake it!)
Shake that healthy booster!
Baby got back!

Swweeet (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34309410)

Freakin lasers.... finally

Houston, we have multiple problems (1)

digitaldc (879047) | more than 3 years ago | (#34309416)

"We bought most of our satellites for three, five, or eight years, and we're keeping them on orbit for ten, twelve, and up to twenty years."

Hmmm....I wonder what the human consequences of aging spy satellites providing erroneous information could be?

And, does anyone know John Connor?

Re:Houston, we have multiple problems (2, Insightful)

Brett Buck (811747) | more than 3 years ago | (#34309520)

None. It either works, or it doesn't.

Re:Houston, we have multiple problems (3, Interesting)

Wyatt Earp (1029) | more than 3 years ago | (#34309546)

The problem isn't erroneous information, its that the fuel runs low so they can't be retasked or have orbits boosted (in the case of LEO satellites) as often, power levels drop as the solar panels get older and they enter safe modes more often than they were designed for.

The follow on satellite designs and programs were delayed and costs overran, thats why they are being used longer and longer.

Re:Houston, we have multiple problems (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34309718)

"power levels drop as the solar panels get older"

WHAT!? I was assured by Space Nutters that putting solar panels in space solves every energy problem on Earth forever. How is this possible?

Re:Houston, we have multiple problems (1)

Wyatt Earp (1029) | more than 3 years ago | (#34310040)

They get holes, radiation over time degrades them.

They have the same issues on ISS and had them on Mir with older panels.

Re:Houston, we have multiple problems (1)

sznupi (719324) | more than 3 years ago | (#34309898)

Also at GEO mere stationkeeping makes the fuel run low.

Re:Houston, we have multiple problems (1)

lgw (121541) | more than 3 years ago | (#34310288)

Older spy sats would expend lots of delta-v to fly in close to observe then adjust back to an orbit high enough to be stabile. I assume the recent ones simply correct for atmospheric turbulance and get perfect pictures from GEO (couple of technologies for that these days), so they don't eat all their fuel in 3 years.

Re:Houston, we have multiple problems (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34309938)

John Connor?

John Galt?

Top Secret payload (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34309442)

Actually, this is a vice-presidential bunker project that was started during the bush administration.

crappy site (2, Informative)

callmebill (1917294) | more than 3 years ago | (#34309446)

Crappy TFA site sports pernicious popups.

Re:crappy site (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 3 years ago | (#34309464)

Crappy TFA site sports pernicious popups.

It does? You must be doing it wrong.

Re:crappy site (0, Troll)

callmebill (1917294) | more than 3 years ago | (#34309480)

Your mom doesn't seem to think so.

Re:crappy site (-1, Troll)

callmebill (1917294) | more than 3 years ago | (#34309502)

With fondest personal regards, Bill

Re:crappy site (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 3 years ago | (#34309554)

Whatever floats your boat, dude. I mean, really, knock yourself out.

Secret, eh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34309492)

How long will we ever be able to keep this under wraps?

awesome until proven useless (1)

alphatel (1450715) | more than 3 years ago | (#34309534)

March 14, 2011: NASA confirmed today that it's launching a new Discovery mission headed for the failed NROL-32. Once hailed as the largest satellite ever, with an unknown purpose, it has since been branded the 'largest scrap in space' with no known usefulness. National Reconnaissance confirmed earlier this week that the NROL wasn't even a spy satellite, instead its purpose was to collect packets from personal wifi networks and save them for future analysis. "We still think this is important work to be done" an spokesperson stated.

Re:awesome until proven useless (1, Interesting)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 3 years ago | (#34309574)

Cool. They've managed to get the Shuttle up to geosynchronous orbit. Did they put Bruce Willis aboard?

Re:awesome until proven useless (1)

Idiomatick (976696) | more than 3 years ago | (#34309920)

It was a Google van? Should have guessed :/

Will it.. (1)

gilesjuk (604902) | more than 3 years ago | (#34309614)

But will it find Bin Laden?

Of course even if they did find him it wouldn't stop the terrorism.

Re:Will it.. (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34309726)

But will it find Bin Laden?

No. It is intended to spy on US citizens. Have you been following American news for the past few years? Don't worry though. If you aren't doing anything wrong, you have nothing to worry about.

Re:Will it.. (1)

icebraining (1313345) | more than 3 years ago | (#34309850)

"Wrong" may or may not include the following activities: breathing, eating or sleeping.

Re:Will it.. (2, Interesting)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 3 years ago | (#34309728)

Actually it might. This is a sigint/comint bird. Not really much of leak since it is a big honking satellite on a Delta 4 heavy with a Centaur upper stage launched from the Cape.
Really that was a given. This can pick up just about any wireless communication so yes it may find Bin Laden and it may stop a terrorist attack. It may do a lot of things.
Sigint/Commint is has been very useful for a very long time.

In fact looking at your email address you may want to look up your own nation's history. A good part of the reason that you are not speaking German is because of commint.

Re:Will it.. (4, Informative)

Muad'Dave (255648) | more than 3 years ago | (#34309814)

Actually it might. This is a sigint/comint bird.

You can keep tabs what orbital slot it ends up in by watching the seesat-l [satobs.org] mailing list that Ted Molczan contributes to.

Re:Will it.. (3, Interesting)

dpilot (134227) | more than 3 years ago | (#34309838)

commint? .uk email address?

That's a total Enigma to me.

Re:Will it.. (3, Funny)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 3 years ago | (#34310356)

I know I was making a Colossus assumption.

Re:Will it.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34310154)

> But will it find Bin Laden?

That's kind of like asking if the cure for cancer will prevent car crashes, or if a nifty linux kernal patch will stop pdf exploits in windows. Surprisingly, there is no one single threat, and no one single solution.

> Of course even if they did find him it wouldn't stop the terrorism.

Well, it would stop HIS part. Other parts might need to be stopped by other means. If you are faced with five problems, do you reject every proposed solution because that solution won't solve all five at once?

Re:Will it.. (3, Funny)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 3 years ago | (#34310210)

When Seven of Nine's husband Jack was running against Barack Obama for the Illinois US Senate seat, he was caught up in a sex scandal and the Republicans searched for a replacement. They found a guy from Maryland, a black fellow who'd never set foot in Illinois before.

A comedian said (and sorry, I've forgotten the guy's name), "Those Republicans! First they can't find Osama Bin Laden in Afghanistan, then they couldn't find WMDs in Iraq, and now thay can't even find a black man in Chicago!"

How big is thing thing? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34309636)

The "total spacecraft mass of about 5,953.5 pounds"? What is this in kilograms? I know at sea level 1 pound is about 2.2. kg - but in low earth orbit? How much mass is needed for that type of force? Or did somebody rewrite the science books?

Re:How big is thing thing? (1)

NotBornYesterday (1093817) | more than 3 years ago | (#34310038)

First, 2.2lbs = 1 kg. Second, don't confuse weight with mass.

Isn't the largest satellite... (5, Funny)

OfficialReverendStev (988479) | more than 3 years ago | (#34309638)

... you know... the moon...?

Re:Isn't the largest satellite... (1)

Abstrackt (609015) | more than 3 years ago | (#34309766)

Well, this is actually the "largest spy satellite ever", so unless the man in the moon is tapping your phone lines they're separate categories.

Re:Isn't the largest satellite... (1)

RealGrouchy (943109) | more than 3 years ago | (#34309936)

You're right; they should have said "largest known spy satellite".

- RG>

Re:Isn't the largest satellite... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34310102)

You look like a retard when you sign your posts.

Re:Isn't the largest satellite... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34310218)

If you had *one* camera on the moon pointing back to Earth... I'd say then the moon would be the largest spy satellite ever.

Re:Isn't the largest satellite... (1)

Stargoat (658863) | more than 3 years ago | (#34309808)

I was thinking Jupiter might be the largest known satellite, but I suspect most of the stars in the Milky Way orbiting the central black hole (or whatever it is) are probably larger.

Re:Isn't the largest satellite... (1)

Nimey (114278) | more than 3 years ago | (#34310128)

That's be Jupiter. Except the Sun is a satellite of the galaxy's core, and there are whole dwarf galaxies orbiting ours...

Don't be pedantic, lest someone else out-pedant you.

Re:Isn't the largest satellite... (1)

swanzilla (1458281) | more than 3 years ago | (#34310190)

That's be Jupiter. Except the Sun is a satellite of the galaxy's core, and there are whole dwarf galaxies orbiting ours...

Don't be pedantic, lest someone else out-pedant you.

That'd be "That'd" be Jupiter.

Re:Isn't the largest satellite... (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 3 years ago | (#34310236)

I was going to say the biggest satellite ON EARTH, but then I remember how the moon was formed -- it actually was on Earth; or at least, splashed from here when a Mars-sized rock smashed the Earth.

I think the ISS may be bigger, too.

Let me google that for you... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34309640)

9 million Newtons thrust
10 thousand kilograms

so big (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34309664)

It's so big, it's out of this world!

TSA satellite of love (1, Funny)

Junior J. Junior III (192702) | more than 3 years ago | (#34309762)

Now we can see your junk from orbit.

Re:TSA satellite of love (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34310246)

And I can't see it without a mirror...

so much for secrecy (1)

alienzed (732782) | more than 3 years ago | (#34309768)

I guess the best hiding place is right out in public.

Re:so much for secrecy (2, Interesting)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 3 years ago | (#34310266)

Nathaniel hawthorne knew that in 1850. [ibiblio.org]

why must "spy" satellites alway be "secret" (1)

craftycoder (1851452) | more than 3 years ago | (#34309784)

These stories invariably describe the space craft as "secret". Of course they never are because everyone who cares to look can see it go up and then watch it in orbit. What audience are they talking to when they say it's "secret" when it by definition is not based on the fact that they are telling us about it.

Re:why must "spy" satellites alway be "secret" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34309876)

So how much do we really know about it? Not a whole lot.

Re:why must "spy" satellites alway be "secret" (1)

MobyDisk (75490) | more than 3 years ago | (#34309912)

It is secret in the same way that Area 51 and the Pentagon are secret. Everyone who cares can hop in a car and see them. They are secret in that we don't know exactly what they do.

Re:why must "spy" satellites alway be "secret" (1)

ceejayoz (567949) | more than 3 years ago | (#34309926)

The fact that it has been launched isn't the secret. Its capabilities and purpose are. Those tend not to be precisely determinable at a distance.

Re:why must "spy" satellites alway be "secret" (1)

NotBornYesterday (1093817) | more than 3 years ago | (#34310066)

Its existence is not secret. Its function, and how it accomplishes that, are.

Mammoth launcher (1)

Foundling (1856832) | more than 3 years ago | (#34309932)

Article says it's a mammoth launcher. Unmanned, yes, but the astronaut is clearly a mammoth. Presumably, this could easily be adapted for elephants, too. //I'll be watching another Delta 4 Heavy launch in January from my balcony. Haven't asked who the pilot is, yet.

The Metric system troll (2, Insightful)

geirlk (171706) | more than 3 years ago | (#34310036)

I thought we all agreed to keep it metric after the last little 'mishap' with the Mars orbiter.

Imperial units are sooo 2 centuries too old!

Maybe you didn't get the memo?

If I'm reading it on Slashdot, it ain't secret... (1)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | more than 3 years ago | (#34310064)

a Delta 4 Heavy rocket — carrying a secret new spy satellite for the US National Reconnaissance Office roared into space to deliver into orbit what one reconnaissance official has touted as 'the largest satellite in the world.' The Delta 4 Heavy rocket is the biggest unmanned rocket currently in service and has 2 million pounds of thrust, capable of launching payloads of up to 24 tons to low-Earth orbit and 11 tons toward the geosynchronous orbits used by communications satellites

Anything else that you can tell us about the secret satellite?

The mammoth vehicle is created by taking three Common Booster Cores — the liquid hydrogen-fueled motor that forms a Delta 4-Medium's first stage — and strapping them together to form a triple-barrel rocket, and then adding an upper stage. The exact purpose of the new spy satellite NROL-32 is secret, but is widely believed to be an essential eavesdropping spacecraft that requires the powerful lift provided by the Delta 4-Heavy to reach its listening post. 'I believe the payload is the fifth in the series of what we call Mentor spacecraft, a.k.a. Advanced Orion, which gather signals intelligence from inclined geosynchronous orbits,' says Ted Molczan, a respected sky-watcher who keeps tabs on orbiting spacecraft. Earlier models of the series included an unfurling dish structure about 255 feet in diameter with a total spacecraft mass of about 5,953.5 pounds, costing about $750 million and designed to monitor specific points or objects of interest such as ballistic missile flight test telemetry."

M'kay . . . can you send me the password to will cause that mother-fucker crash down?

The really super secret satellites . . . well, we don't hear anything about them . . . and we shouldn't, either.

Re:If I'm reading it on Slashdot, it ain't secret. (1)

geirlk (171706) | more than 3 years ago | (#34310092)

The really super secret satellites . . . well, we don't hear anything about them . . . and we shouldn't, either.

My guess is they're hidden stowaways with proper launches. So this 'spy' satellite might have a little brother =)

Re:If I'm reading it on Slashdot, it ain't secret. (1)

Bucky24 (1943328) | more than 3 years ago | (#34310248)

That would make a lot of sense. Considering that ANY launch into space is probably gonna be noticed, it would be a lot easier just to piggyback satellites than try to make a secret unnoticed launch. Maybe that's why it's really so big? Instead of launching one massive satellite they could be launching two or three smaller ones.

255-foot dish? (1)

amicusNYCL (1538833) | more than 3 years ago | (#34310098)

Earlier models of the series included an unfurling dish structure about 255 feet in diameter with a total spacecraft mass of about 5,953.5 pounds

The whosit whatnow?

The MAGNUM-ORION 1-3 spacecraft introduced the third larger unfurling dish structures "wrap-rib" large deployable bleached white gold colored mesh covered receiving dish antenna design of about 255 feet in diameter with a total spacecraft mass of about 5,953.5 pounds.

Oh. Of course, the old unfurling dish structures "wrap-rib" large deployable bleached white gold colored mesh covered receiving dish antenna design.

Sort of heavy (1)

ivoras (455934) | more than 3 years ago | (#34310142)

Hmmm, how heavy? Like in "heavy metal" heavy? Like Uranium-heavy? No, couldn't be.... right?

bet it has a tag on it (1)

topham (32406) | more than 3 years ago | (#34310150)

Bet it has a tag on it that says 'Made in China'.

We have come along way (5, Informative)

kurt555gs (309278) | more than 3 years ago | (#34310290)

And to think only 45 years ago, all we could manage was 135 tons to low earth orbit on the Saturn V.

Wow, what progress.

Secrets (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34310336)

Patrick Leahy, in one of his frequent news interviews, stated that if any foreign country uncovered any of the details about this satellite (detailed schematics available online from his web site), then National Security would be in serious trouble. For national security reasons, the names of the developers, such as William Hammerhead, Martin Gooseburg, and John Tailbiter, need to be kept secret so foreign elements will not capture them to force them into developing competing systems. He also recommends to the reporters that the satellites orbit (see his web page for current position) be kept top secret. Also, if any countries need financial help in developing their competing systems, a small donation to the DNC could loosen enormous support from his party.

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