Main Question or Discussion Point
The phone call came like a bolt out of the blue, so to speak, in January 2011. On the other end of the line was someone from the National Reconnaissance Office, which operates the nation’s fleet of spy satellites. They had some spare, unused “hardware” to get rid of. Was NASA interested? ...For more, see http://www.nytimes.com/2012/06/05/science/space/repurposed-telescope-may-explore-secrets-of-dark-energy.html
These freebie telescopes from the NRO ("Hey NASA! We just threw some Gucci Genius Jeans in the trash because we have the budget to buy something even better. Want them?") might be the solution to verifying some vexing cosmological problems. One problem is that even Walmart-class jeans are beyond NASA's ultra-thin budget. Another is that the NRO stripped the telescopes of sensors and avionics before giving them to NASA. But hey, don't look a gift horse in its mouth. These telescopes are slightly better than Hubble-class telescopes and are apparently ideal for searching for signs of dark energy.