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Air Force Launches Massive, Secret Spy Satellite
CBS ^ | Nov. 22, 2010 | space consultant William Harwood.

Posted on 11/22/2010 12:24:31 PM PST by Ernest_at_the_Beach

CAPE CANAVERA -- Delta 4 Rocket Blasts Off With U.S. Spy Agency's "Largest Satellite in the World" - Believed to be 328 Feet Wide

***********************************************

( not sure I believe that....)

*************************************

A powerful Delta 4 rocket roared to life and climbed away from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station Sunday evening on a high-priority mission to boost a National Reconnaissance Office spy satellite into orbit.

Under a cloudy sky, the hydrogen-fueled engines in the three common core boosters of the United Launch Alliance Delta 4 ignited with a rush of orange fire at 5:58 p.m. EST and quickly throttled up to nearly 2 million pounds of thrust.

Hold-down clamps then released and the huge rocket majestically climbed away from launch complex 37 atop a torrent of fiery exhaust. About 30 seconds later, it knifed into a deck of low clouds and disappeared from view.

Because the NROL-32 payload is classified, United Launch Alliance halted commentary about seven minutes after liftoff, just after the protective nose cone fairing separated and fell away. The vehicle was performing normally at that point, but no other updates were expected.

The payload is believed to be an electronic eavesdropping satellite with a huge collecting antenna. In a September address to the Air Force Association, NRO Director Bruce Carlson said the Delta 4 was carrying "the largest satellite in the world."

"I believe the payload is the fifth in the series of what we call Mentor spacecraft, a.k.a. Advanced Orion," Ted Molczan, a respected satellite tracker, told Spaceflight Now. "They are among the largest satellites ever deployed."

(Excerpt) Read more at cbsnews.com ...


TOPICS: Extended News; Foreign Affairs; Government; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: contrails; miltech; satellite
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1 posted on 11/22/2010 12:24:37 PM PST by Ernest_at_the_Beach
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To: Ernest_at_the_Beach

If it’s so secret, why do we know about it?


2 posted on 11/22/2010 12:25:14 PM PST by therightliveswithus
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To: SandRat; NormsRevenge; Marine_Uncle; blam; SunkenCiv; Fred Nerks; GeronL

328 feet wide....?


3 posted on 11/22/2010 12:25:57 PM PST by Ernest_at_the_Beach ( Support Geert Wilders)
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To: Ernest_at_the_Beach

That wasn’t a missile, it was a UPS MD-11 leaving a contrail. ;)


4 posted on 11/22/2010 12:26:52 PM PST by JohnKinAK
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To: Ernest_at_the_Beach

This isn't the secret launch. Well, not this secret launch.

5 posted on 11/22/2010 12:27:16 PM PST by ClearCase_guy
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To: Ernest_at_the_Beach

Oh my, this sounds important. It’s sure a good thing it’s being kept a secret.


6 posted on 11/22/2010 12:27:55 PM PST by Gator113 (Sarah Palin can win, and she will win.)
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To: Ernest_at_the_Beach

WHo is it pointed at? Wait, lemme think; Obama’s “enemies”?


7 posted on 11/22/2010 12:27:55 PM PST by theDentist (fybo; qwerty ergo typo : i type, therefore i misspelll)
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To: Ernest_at_the_Beach

If true, should be easily visible as a naked eye object like the ISS


8 posted on 11/22/2010 12:27:59 PM PST by Crazieman (Feb 7, 2008 http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1966675/posts?page=28#28)
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To: Ernest_at_the_Beach

Will the Janet Incompitano be able to take pictures of us in our Tighty Whitey’s from Space??


9 posted on 11/22/2010 12:27:59 PM PST by jakerobins
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To: therightliveswithus

Kind of hard to hide the launch when it lights up the sky...you think they should fix that?


10 posted on 11/22/2010 12:28:08 PM PST by Ernest_at_the_Beach ( Support Geert Wilders)
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To: Ernest_at_the_Beach

It’s so powerful it can spot an underwear bomb from orbit.


11 posted on 11/22/2010 12:28:47 PM PST by Jim Robinson (Rebellion is brewing!! Nuke the corrupt commie bastards to HELL!!)
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To: Ernest_at_the_Beach

Oh my, this sounds important. It’s sure a good thing it’s being kept a secret.


12 posted on 11/22/2010 12:28:52 PM PST by Gator113 (Sarah Palin can win, and she will win.)
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To: Ernest_at_the_Beach

Must have been a Russian or Chinese ICBM!


13 posted on 11/22/2010 12:29:22 PM PST by mountainlion (concerned conservative.)
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To: Ernest_at_the_Beach
The payload is believed to be an electronic eavesdropping satellite with a huge collecting antenna.

Launched on orders from Jay Rockefeller to keep an eye on Fox News.

14 posted on 11/22/2010 12:29:46 PM PST by The Sons of Liberty (Psalm 109:8 Let his days be few and let another take his office. - Mene, Mene, Tekel, Upharsin)
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To: Ernest_at_the_Beach

How secret can it be if CBS is doing a story about it?


15 posted on 11/22/2010 12:30:22 PM PST by La Lydia
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To: Ernest_at_the_Beach

So powerful, it can photograph your junk from 200 miles up.


16 posted on 11/22/2010 12:30:51 PM PST by FormerACLUmember (Character is defined by how we treat those who society says have no value.)
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To: therightliveswithus

((shhh))


17 posted on 11/22/2010 12:31:12 PM PST by InvisibleChurch (Stimulus ~ Response / "...and that's why the color yellow makes me sad, I think.")
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To: Ernest_at_the_Beach

Secret Spy Satellite

Not any longer!


18 posted on 11/22/2010 12:31:31 PM PST by Noob1999 (Loose Lips Sink Ships)
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To: ClearCase_guy

A Butt coverup if I ever saw one!

observe the curve of the tail!

19 posted on 11/22/2010 12:32:41 PM PST by Young Werther ("Quae cum ita sunt" Since these things are so!)
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To: Ernest_at_the_Beach

I recall some place a saying something like “Lose Lips Sink Ships”.


20 posted on 11/22/2010 12:32:54 PM PST by RC2
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Comment #21 Removed by Moderator

To: Ernest_at_the_Beach
It appears that it's definitely a contrail.

*facepalm*

22 posted on 11/22/2010 12:33:33 PM PST by McGruff (Vote for Bristol the Pistol at 800-868-3407)
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To: Ernest_at_the_Beach

If it’s >328 feet wide then it had some type of long boom that unfolded, which means it had a requirement to create a large separation between two or more components. Either to minimize interference with each other or to use interferometry to increase resolution.


23 posted on 11/22/2010 12:35:44 PM PST by RingerSIX (Better dead than red.)
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To: Jim Robinson
ROFL>>>

No More pat downs needed.

*****************************************************

I think that when in orbit it must deploy a large antenna....maybe like 328 feet wide....that would make sense,.,,,

If we all talk in whispers maybe they won't hear us!

24 posted on 11/22/2010 12:36:09 PM PST by Ernest_at_the_Beach ( Support Geert Wilders)
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To: Ernest_at_the_Beach

That’s the width of its receiving antenna, which unfolds once it’s in orbit.


25 posted on 11/22/2010 12:37:43 PM PST by I Shall Endure
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To: Young Werther

I was going to say something...but I lost my train of thought!


26 posted on 11/22/2010 12:37:56 PM PST by Ernest_at_the_Beach ( Support Geert Wilders)
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To: Ernest_at_the_Beach
When deployed...


27 posted on 11/22/2010 12:39:00 PM PST by stormer
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To: I Shall Endure

Subheadline implies it is that wide going up....


28 posted on 11/22/2010 12:40:56 PM PST by Ernest_at_the_Beach ( Support Geert Wilders)
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To: Ernest_at_the_Beach

Even though it was cloudy, I got some views of it through the gaps...was very bright. Trajectory was going a lot farther east than other launches I’v seen.


29 posted on 11/22/2010 12:42:05 PM PST by Kaosinla (The More the Plans Fail. The More the Planners Plan.)
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To: stormer

Wow...thanks....


30 posted on 11/22/2010 12:42:52 PM PST by Ernest_at_the_Beach ( Support Geert Wilders)
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To: Ernest_at_the_Beach
Always love headlines that scream 'Secret'.

I don't trust The Imam with our national secrets, that's for sure.

31 posted on 11/22/2010 12:55:22 PM PST by TexasCajun
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To: Ernest_at_the_Beach

how else do you expect Obama to be able to steal ESPN-U so he can sit around the White House watching basketball all day?


32 posted on 11/22/2010 12:56:26 PM PST by Buckeye McFrog
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To: Crazieman
...should be easily visible as a naked eye object

Check www.heavens-above.com over the next few days. Go to Select Satellite, Year of launch 2010.

33 posted on 11/22/2010 12:57:04 PM PST by omega4412
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To: Buckeye McFrog

Well....damn...

hadn’t thought of that.


34 posted on 11/22/2010 12:59:59 PM PST by Ernest_at_the_Beach ( Support Geert Wilders)
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To: stormer

There is no way this thing survives all the space junk screaming by in those orbits. I wonder where they are parking it, over 300 feet is a huge target and there are a lot of tiny piece of crap up there.


35 posted on 11/22/2010 1:02:17 PM PST by Secret Agent Man (I'd like to tell you, but then I'd have to kill you.)
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To: therightliveswithus

The launch and the payload aren’t secret, it’s the data that is classified.


36 posted on 11/22/2010 1:02:54 PM PST by stuartcr (When politicians politicize issues, aren't they just doing their job?)
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To: McGruff

it’s OK. we’re probably just spying on more icebergs:

“Spying on Icebergs Instead of Terrorists? Obama Program Diverts Intelligence Assets to Climate...”

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/2421892/posts


37 posted on 11/22/2010 1:04:17 PM PST by WOBBLY BOB ( "I don't want the majority if we don't stand for something"- Jim Demint)
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To: Kaosinla; Secret Agent Man
Trajectory was going a lot farther east than other launches I’v seen.

Possibly Geo-sync orbit?

Many of our satellites are park out there to monitor a certain area. They have no need to cover the entire earth and also at that altitude there would be no junk to hit it, just meteorites and Chinese ASATs.

38 posted on 11/22/2010 1:13:50 PM PST by OldMissileer (Atlas, Titan, Minuteman, PK. Winners of the Cold War)
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To: Ernest_at_the_Beach

When in space stateltites often unpack themselves. The solar panels drive out etc etc etc. Small when payload, very large in space.


39 posted on 11/22/2010 1:39:42 PM PST by Red6 (IMHO)
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To: stuartcr

And usually the systems capabilities.


40 posted on 11/22/2010 1:43:10 PM PST by Red6 (IMHO)
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To: therightliveswithus

>> If it’s so secret, why do we know about it?

(face palm)

Now you’ve done it... if you noobies would just keep your mouth shut, but Noooooo...

We’re gonna have to kill you.

What’s your address?

:-)


41 posted on 11/22/2010 1:48:45 PM PST by Nervous Tick (Trust in God, but row away from the rocks!)
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To: Ernest_at_the_Beach

http://www.globalsecurity.org/space/systems/trumpet.htm

“The MENTOR 1-3 spacecraft introduced the very large unfurling dish structures “wrap-rib” large deployable bleached white gold colored mesh covered receiving dish antenna design of about 350 feet in diameter with a total spacecraft estimated mass of an estimated 10,000 pounds for the Titan-4A Centaur and 12,700 pounds for the Titan-4B Centaur. MENTOR’s first launch was May 14, 1995 and the second subsequent launch was May 9, 1998 while its third and last launch was on September 9, 2003. “

This is a variant on the Mentor “advanced Orion” and it apparently is that big....


42 posted on 11/22/2010 1:56:30 PM PST by Bean Counter (Stout Hearts!!)
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To: Nervous Tick; stormer

Hell, it’s so secret that Stormer has the blueprint for it. ;-)


43 posted on 11/22/2010 1:57:02 PM PST by Normal4me
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To: Ernest_at_the_Beach

http://www.globalsecurity.org/space/systems/trumpet.htm

“The MENTOR 1-3 spacecraft introduced the very large unfurling dish structures “wrap-rib” large deployable bleached white gold colored mesh covered receiving dish antenna design of about 350 feet in diameter with a total spacecraft estimated mass of an estimated 10,000 pounds for the Titan-4A Centaur and 12,700 pounds for the Titan-4B Centaur. MENTOR’s first launch was May 14, 1995 and the second subsequent launch was May 9, 1998 while its third and last launch was on September 9, 2003. “

This is a variant on the Mentor “advanced Orion” and it apparently is that big....


44 posted on 11/22/2010 1:58:40 PM PST by Bean Counter (Stout Hearts!!)
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To: Normal4me

And it says 1993....sure takes awhile to build those things.


45 posted on 11/22/2010 2:01:40 PM PST by Ernest_at_the_Beach ( Support Geert Wilders)
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To: FormerACLUmember

Egads, man! You mean it has centimeter resolution??


46 posted on 11/22/2010 2:47:21 PM PST by Erasmus (Personal goal: Have a bigger carbon footprint than Tony Robbins.)
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To: Ernest_at_the_Beach

This bird has something on the order of 90 db of rf gain.

From a mere 23,000 miles up that much gain equates to having a quarter wavelength antenna hooked to a sensitive receiver within a few inches of any rf radiator on the ground.

Awesome capabilities both receiving and transmitting.

You could spoof any sort of rf traffic worldwide with a few of these spaced around the equator.


47 posted on 11/22/2010 2:56:34 PM PST by Bobalu ( "Israel must be like a mad dog, too dangerous to bother." ..Moshe Dayan:)
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To: Ernest_at_the_Beach
When I was in, you went to prison for even saying “National Reconnaissance Office” and now there are articles describing what they're up to.
48 posted on 11/22/2010 5:06:57 PM PST by 2ndDivisionVet (Every decent man is ashamed of the government he lives under. ~Mencken)
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To: Ernest_at_the_Beach

Sounds HUGE


49 posted on 11/22/2010 5:24:18 PM PST by GeronL (http://libertyfic.proboards.com <--- My Fiction/ Science Fiction Board)
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To: OldMissileer; Kaosinla; Secret Agent Man
Just guessing:

The orbit for NROL-32 is stated as being high oblique angle, in other words, a high apogee, Molniya orbit. Meaning the mass of the satellite is within that range and that 24 hour coverage over a given area requires at least 3 equi-synchronized satellites.

The Molniya orbit places operations within the Pacific and Indian Oceans area coverage with perigee incursions to Russia and east Asia and the western US Seaboard.

The Eye of Sauron

50 posted on 11/22/2010 8:37:19 PM PST by gandalftb (OK State, 10-1, Go Cowboys! Beat OK)
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