Risk

6/20/2012
02:41 PM
John Foley
John Foley
Slideshows
Connect Directly
Google+
LinkedIn
Twitter
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

Secret Spy Satellite Takes Off: Stunning Images

The National Reconnaissance Office provides satellite imagery for intelligence operations and national defense. Here's a look at the agency's most recent rocket launches.
Previous
1 of 15
Next


The U.S. government's newest spy satellite launched Wednesday from Cape Canaveral, Fla., the second of four launches planned this year by the National Reconnaissance Office. NRO called the launch "flawless."

The NRO, which serves the Department of Defense and the U.S. Intelligence Community, hasn't actually acknowledged that a satellite is on board the Atlas V rocket, built by United Launch Alliance, a joint venture between Lockheed Martin and Boeing. The partners refer only to the mission's "national security payload."

The launch of NROL-38 (the current mission number) had been scheduled for June 16 but was scrubbed at the launch pad when a problem with the rocket's environment control system duct was discovered. The rescheduled launch, pictured here, went without a hitch at 8:28 a.m. at Cape Canaveral.

On April 3, the NRO launched another intelligence payload aboard a United Launch Alliance Delta IV rocket from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. Two more missions are slated for the next six weeks. Last year, the NRO funded six launches.

The NRO provides satellite imagery to the DOD and U.S. intelligence agencies, as well as to the departments of State and Justice and other civilian agencies. According to Congressional testimony in March by Betty Sapp, principal deputy director of the NRO, the agency last year provided intelligence that aided in the killing or capture of "high-value targets" in more than a dozen operations and supported counterterrorism and anti-piracy efforts, among other scenarios. Its images are also used by scientists to study the environment, oil spills, and natural disasters.

The agency's next mission, NROL-15, is designed to carry a bigger payload than NROL-38. It will be hoisted by a Delta IV rocket, which United Launch Alliance co-developed with the Air Force, in a "heavy configuration" for payloads of up to 25 tons. NROL-15 is scheduled to launch June 28 from Cape Canaveral.

United Launch Alliance, formed in 2005, provides rockets and launch services to other government customers, as well. Over the past 12 months, it has sent rockets aloft for the Air Force, Navy, and NASA.

The Lockheed-Boeing partnership is getting into the commercial space transportation business as well. In April, it announced the formation of a Human Launch Services Organization, which has a mandate of carrying astronauts into low-Earth orbit and deeper into space.

Last year marked the 50th anniversary of the NRO, and details of the agency's secretive operations have gradually emerged. Last week, the agency released a previously top secret report on the nineteen-year history of its earliest satellite system, the so-called Poppy system. That program concluded in 1977.

Photo credit: United Launch Alliance

Previous
1 of 15
Next
Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Threaded  |  Newest First  |  Oldest First
Leo Regulus
50%
50%
Leo Regulus,
User Rank: Apprentice
6/22/2012 | 7:45:23 PM
re: Secret Spy Satellite Takes Off: Stunning Images
Please, I need a standard article format, or, at worst, a .pdf for this. Please Help!
D. Henschen
50%
50%
D. Henschen,
User Rank: Apprentice
7/21/2012 | 11:07:34 AM
re: Secret Spy Satellite Takes Off: Stunning Images
I guess it's a not-so-secret spy satellite!
More Than Half of Users Reuse Passwords
Curtis Franklin Jr., Senior Editor at Dark Reading,  5/24/2018
Is Threat Intelligence Garbage?
Chris McDaniels, Chief Information Security Officer of Mosaic451,  5/23/2018
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon Contest
Write a Caption, Win a Starbucks Card! Click Here
Latest Comment: This comment is waiting for review by our moderators.
Current Issue
Flash Poll
[Strategic Security Report] Navigating the Threat Intelligence Maze
[Strategic Security Report] Navigating the Threat Intelligence Maze
Most enterprises are using threat intel services, but many are still figuring out how to use the data they're collecting. In this Dark Reading survey we give you a look at what they're doing today - and where they hope to go.
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2018-11506
PUBLISHED: 2018-05-28
The sr_do_ioctl function in drivers/scsi/sr_ioctl.c in the Linux kernel through 4.16.12 allows local users to cause a denial of service (stack-based buffer overflow) or possibly have unspecified other impact because sense buffers have different sizes at the CDROM layer and the SCSI layer.
CVE-2018-11507
PUBLISHED: 2018-05-28
An issue was discovered in Free Lossless Image Format (FLIF) 0.3. An attacker can trigger a long loop in image_load_pnm in image/image-pnm.cpp.
CVE-2018-11505
PUBLISHED: 2018-05-26
The Werewolf Online application 0.8.8 for Android allows attackers to discover the Firebase token by reading logcat output.
CVE-2018-6409
PUBLISHED: 2018-05-26
An issue was discovered in Appnitro MachForm before 4.2.3. The module in charge of serving stored files gets the path from the database. Modifying the name of the file to serve on the corresponding ap_form table leads to a path traversal vulnerability via the download.php q parameter.
CVE-2018-6410
PUBLISHED: 2018-05-26
An issue was discovered in Appnitro MachForm before 4.2.3. There is a download.php SQL injection via the q parameter.