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The KH-11 (aka Keyhole) is dead (nasaspaceflight.com)
33 points by gonzo 1542 days ago | hide | past | web | 7 comments | favorite

From the Wired story this morning:

"Clapper briefly notes some programs the intelligence agencies are closing or scaling back, as well as those they’re pouring additional funds into. Overhead imagery captured by spy satellites was slated for reduction, for example, while SIGINT, the electronic spying that’s been the focus of the Snowden leaks, got a fresh infusion."

There may not be any more DIV-heavies launching from vandenburg, but the F9 is scheduled to start from vandenburg next month, and there may be F9-heavies launching, eventually, as well.

I guess other than a few targets like watching North Korean nukes, most general 'war-on-terror' type requirements have scaled back the role of satellite intelligence in favor of drones.

Interesting reading todays leaks to see the budget of the National Reconnaissance Office and the National Geospatial Intelligence Program [1] is just under the equivalent of one NASA [2] :

[1] http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/special/national/black-...

[2] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Budget_of_NASA

Can we swap them for a link to google maps and doubling of the NASA budget :-)

The NRO and the NGA programs are going to be on a need to know basis, aren't they? That is, knowledge about what's going on is compartmentalized. This adds to the cost. I recall reading a reference (which I can't find now) that claimed a Top Secret program was 20% more costly than an open program. I remember feeling surprised, because my personal estimate was about double for anything Secret.

We can double NASA's budget, can NRO and NGA, and still come out ahead financially.

I looked up the numbers recently. Combined, 14 of the world's largest space agencies (including NASA and Roscosmos) spend an Apollo program every ~3 years. A 33% funding boost consolidated into one effort could be a permanent Apollo program. It's actually pretty depressing to me how easy it would be given the political will to do it right.

Bummed I missed it. We can usually see the contrails from Vandenberg launches. The Delta4 Heavy is something of a beast as I understand it, an engineer that works for ULA described it once as 5 rockets flying in a very tight formation :-) Perhaps we'll see some SpaceX use of Vandenberg which would be fun, then perhaps I'd get enough notice to drive down and watch the launch.

Dead? From the article it looks like the launch was successful?

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