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Countdown: A pair of top-secret ocean surveillance craft are scheduled to launch Thursday on an Atlas rocket from Cape Canaveral. This photo shows the rocket at rollout on Wednesday. Michael R. Brown, FLORIDA TODAY.
A problem with the range safety system that protects the people and property from an out-of-control rocket mishap has forced the cancellation of today's Atlas V launch.
While the government and its contractors will not discuss the payload, the trade magazine Aviation Week & Space Technology reports that the craft are intended to track ships moving at sea, including those that might hint at terrorist activities or Chinese or Iranian naval tactics.
The triplets fly in tight formations to help them zero in on the location of radio transmissions from water and possibly land. The new satellites might be replacing one of a number of older generation NOSS clusters, Molczan said.
NOSS formations might be responsible for strange triangles of lights, witnessed on occasion by night sky observers, according to UFO experts.