NASA plans to use them for the study of dark energy, but it could take years to prepare them for orbit
Two powerful spy telescopes built for the U.S. intelligence agency National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) will be used for a completely different purpose than originally intended. Given to NASA by the NRO, these Hubble-quality telescopes will be repurposed to be used not for covert surveillance operations, but for the study of dark energy.
NRO spokesperson Loretta DeSio said the telescopes have 7.9-foot mirrors like Hubble, but they use "newer, much lighter mirror and structure technology." Right now, the two agencies refuse to divulge much information, and most details are kept under wraps. According to The Washington Post, the telescopes could be tweaked versions of KH-11 Kennan reconnaissance satellites that NRO has been using since 1976.
Glenn A. Walsh, Project Director,
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