- Misty (classified project)
Misty is reportedly the name of a classified project by the United States
National Reconnaissance Officeto operate stealthy reconnaissance satellites. The satellites are conjectured to be photo reconnaissance satellites and the program has been the subject of atypically public debates about its worthiness in the defense budget since December 2004.
The first satellite launched for the program was deployed on
March 1, 1990by the Space Shuttle "Atlantis as part of Mission STS-36. Objects associated with the satellite decayed on March 31, 1990, but the satellite itself was seen and tracked later that year and in the mid-1990sFact|date=October 2007 by amateur observers. Misty is reported to have optical and radar stealth characteristics, making it difficult for adversaries to detect (and thus predict the times it would fly overhead).
Almost everything about the program is
classified information--but one clue about satellite camouflage has been found in the patent literature. U.S. Patent #5,345,238 describes an inflatable balloon that can be made rigid on exposure to ultraviolet radiation that can serve to lower the radar and optical signature of the satellite. Once deployed, the cone-shaped balloon could be steered to deflect incoming laser and microwave radar energy by sending it off into outer space. Whether or not these stealthy ideas are actually used in the MISTY satellite series is not publicly known.
Porter Goss, a former
Congressmanand former CIA director, and George Tenet, former CIA director, have both vigorously supported successors to Misty, despite several attempts by Senators Dianne Feinsteinand John D. Rockefeller IVto terminate the program. The primary contractor is Lockheed Martin Space Systems.
June 21, 2007, the Associated Pressreported that Director of National Intelligence John Michael McConnellhas canceled the multibillion-dollar spy satellite program that engineers hoped would someday pass undetected through the space above other nations.
Future Imagery Architecture
The program may have involved as many as two satellites:
* The first deployed
1 March1990 by STS-36as USA-53 or [http://nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov/nmc/spacecraftDisplay.do?id=1990-019B 1990-019B] (19600 kg)
* The second launched
22 May1999 as USA-144 or [http://nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov/nmc/spacecraftDisplay.do?id=1999-028A 1999-028A]
Reference and External links
* Allen Thomson. [http://www.fas.org/spp/military/program/track/stealth.pdf Stealth Satellite Sourcebook] (from
Federation of American Scientists)
* [http://www.globalsecurity.org/space/systems/afp-731.htm Globalsecurity.org article]
* [http://www.heavens-above.com/satinfo.asp?lat=38.895&lng=-77.037&alt=0&loc=Washington&TZ=EST&SatID=20516 Heavens Above entry]
* [http://www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/NSAEBB/NSAEBB143/index.htm The spy satellite so stealthy that the Senate coudn't kill it] (Excerpt from "The Wizards of Langley" on MISTY)
* Article from WIRED magazine about amateur
satellite-watchers tracking an unusual, possibly stealthy, satellite.
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