|Other Designations: AFP-731.
Type: Nuclear Detection.
The Misty stealth satellite originated as a countermeasure to Soviet efforts to conceal weapons development and suspected strategic missile treaty violations from known American reconnaissance satellites. The spacecraft was designed to be difficult to detect and be capable of large maneuvers in order to thwart Russian efforts to keep track of it. It would also have been difficult to locate and destroy the satellite in times of superpower war.
On 21 June 2007 Director of National Intelligence Mike McConnell cancelled the multibillion-dollar spy satellite program, , known publicly as the next generation of "Misty" satellites. Engineers had hoped these spacecraft would someday pass undetected through the space above other nations.
McConnell gave no reason for his decision, saying only : "I have been advised when I was getting ready for this job, you have to do two things: kill a multibillion-dollar program. Just did that..and fire somebody important. So I'm searching," The satellite's true name was not publicly known, but it was believed to have been assigned a designation of a letter followed by numbers.
This classified National Reconnaissance Office satellite represented the first successful Titan launch in four attempts. The payload had been reported to be a Lacrosse radar imaging reconnaissance satellite. However the short 50 foot Titan fairing was used instead of the 66 foot fairing used by Lacrosse. This only seems to be used previously for an Improved Crystal photo-reconnaissance satellite in November 1992. The payload therefore could be related to the ocean surveillance triplets, or be an Improved CRYSTAL derivative. Veteran amateur satellite-watchers believed it was the second launch of 'Misty', a stealthy optical reconnaisance satellite (the first launch being USA 53 in February 1990).
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