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kleinbl00  ·  1924 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: SpaceX launches NRO satellite and lands back at Kennedy. 4th landing back on land.

You're clever, dig into that Spaceflight 101 article. They think it's a leftover version of Worldview 3.

Guaranteed, a few days from now the geeks will have NROL-76's orbit. Run the numbers on an optical payload similar to that one and figure out what sort of resolution it gets at perigee.

1) Sometimes the most useful images are the oblique ones and an electrooptical bird looking sidelong is a lot harder to predict than an electrooptical bird looking straight down.

2) off-the-shelf hardware, bespoke performance is kind of a SpaceX mantra. The last KH-11 we put up cost something dumb like $8 billion; if SpaceX can demonstrate a tenth the performance at a hundredth the budget they might get paid next time.

I mean, it could be an SDS like they're suggesting. It could be NEMESIS like Ted Molczan is suggesting. But we won't really know until someone picks it up.