How is it possible that two of the top 16 United States intelligence agencies geospatial, which operate on United States reconnaissance satellites have their top secret NRO spacecraft for ocean surveillance, fired into the wrong orbits? The flight went horribly wrong on June 15, with the heads of the United States Air Force hanging low. The Atlas V launch was handled by the USAF and NRO. An official investigation is underway into the launch and malfunction. It was the first use of the Atlas Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle, which cost $83million. Hmmmm…and possibly the last.
SpaceRef says that two secret spaceships are now public and were instrumental in tracking al Qaeda terrorists hidden inside ships. They also tracked Iranian and Chinese sea-based military activities. It was designed by Lockheed Martin. The United Launch Alliance (ULA) manages the launch along with NRO. They also oversee the operation of Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. At this point, it is unclear if spacecraft malfunctions were caused by the engine itself or electronic components of the engine and overall platform.
The NRO is well-known for coordinating the collection of data from two sources-airplanes and satellite reconnaissance by military and CIA-funded through National Reconnaissance Program. It is also part of the National Foreign Intelligence Program with the agency being part of Department of Defense. Yet the NRO does not work alone but with several intelligence and space partners: National Security Agency, or the NSA; National Geospatial-Intelligency Agency, or NGA; Central Intelligence Agency, or CIA; Defense Intelligence Agency, or DIA; United States Strategic Command; and Naval Research Laboratory. The agency is responsible for collecting and distributing reconnaissance information, as well as operations worldwide through numerous Ground Stations.