A gift to NASA from the National Reconnaissance Office

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D H
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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.
 

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Makes me wonder how many of these the NRO has up there right now, does anyone know the approximate cost it would take to outfit one of these telescopes with the necessary equipment and launch it?
 
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Ken G
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Sadly, NASA is in no position right now to take advantage of these "freebies", because nothing is that free, and NASA can't do anythng but launch JWST it seems. It's almost adding insult to injury to even offer them. I don't really know, but I can't see any way that NASA is in any position to take advantage of the offer, and I wager they won't. I recall with Hubble, it was expensive to even keep it sitting around, because hardware like that can't just go into a corner of someone's garage. It would be an awful irony if NASA had to just throw them back into the dumpster, but I'll bet that's just what they do. I hope I'm wrong, what a waste that would be!
 
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