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NASA and NRO to Team-Up on Lunar Spacecraft

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posted on Jan, 31 2005 @ 09:26 AM
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NASA and NRO to Team-Up on Lunar Spacecraft

By Jeremy Singer
Space News Staff Writer


The U.S. National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) and NASA have agreed to cooperate on the development of a lunar spacecraft intended as the first shot in a series of robotic probes paving the way for future human exploration missions, according to an NRO official.

NASA and the NRO signed an agreement in November to work together on the payload for the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter with the hope that the technology from that effort can be applied to a military satellite expected to be launched around the same timeframe, said Pedro “Pete” Rustan, director of advanced science and technology at the NRO.

The cooperation will focus on developing a miniature synthetic aperture radar sensor that the lunar probe will use to develop detailed maps of the Moon’s surface, Rustan said in a Jan. 25 interview.

The lunar probe is expected to begin its mission, which will run over the course of a year, in 2008. The Pentagon is planning to launch the fourth in a series of small spacecraft known as TacSat or Joint Warfighter spacecraft that year.




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well spy sats to the moon :S is there something to look for..




posted on Jan, 31 2005 @ 10:07 AM
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The lunar surface bounces back faint terrestrial radio and electronic signals and has been used since the late 1950s early 1960s to gather sigint by NSA, ships with large dish arrays were used as well as the Arrecibo site for this signals intelligence gathering.

NRO being in charge of the hardware such as satellites used in gathering sigint would or could use NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter as a way to recieve much more faint electronic/radio signals transmitted from earth by effectively increasing the size of the "antenna" formed by the moon and the satellite. The combination of multiple antenna's is one used by sigint and radio astronomers here on earth to effectively simulate a larger reciever.

I believe the mapping function to be a cover for the real mission which IMHO is the gathering of sigint.



 
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