Air Force to Launch Satellites to Spy on other Satellites

Friday, July 25, 2014
United Launch Alliance Delta IV rocket, with the Air Force's AFSPC-4 mission aboard, is readied for launch at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station (Photo: ULA)

In a surprising turn of transparency, the U.S. military has decided to announce its launch of new satellites whose sole purpose will be to spy on other countries’ satellites.

 

U.S. Air Force officials overseeing the space-based surveillance say they were willing to discuss the mission to warn countries like China and Russia not to mess with American satellites and spacecraft orbiting the earth.

 

Two advanced spy satellites were scheduled to be launched into orbit Friday from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, under the authority of the Geosynchronous Space Situational Awareness Program.

 

“This neighborhood watch twosome will help protect our precious assets in geo (high-altitude orbit), plus they will be on the lookout for nefarious capability other nations might try to place in that critical orbital regime,” General William Shelton, head of Air Force Space Command, told the media.

 

Shelton said the Air Force was willing to openly discuss the mission, unlike previous spy satellites efforts, so it could send a message to would-be adversaries: “You can run but you can’t hide” if your satellites attack American space technology.

 

The satellites will position themselves 22,300 miles above Earth, putting them in near-geosynchronous orbit, where a satellite maintains about the same relative position over the earth, to improve observational efforts.

-Noel Brinkerhoff

 

To Learn More:

US Air Force to Launch New Surveillance Satellites (Agence France-Presse)

GSSAP and ANGELS Contribute to Space Neighborhood Watch (U.S. Air Force)

Shelton Announces New Space Situational Awareness Satellite Program (U.S. Air Force)

Teams Fueling Delta IV Rocket for Launch (by James Dean, Florida Today)

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