Events & Coverage

2010 - 2011


Materials presented in chronological order.

Aftergood, Steven. "A Glimpse of the 2010 NRO Budget Request (Redacted)." Secrecy News, 1 Jul. 2010. []

The NRO has released in redacted form its FY2010 budget justification book. Most of the "book and all of the budget figures have been withheld from disclosure.  Only 116 pages out of the total of 484 pages contain substantial intelligible text.  But the released portion at least provides a sense of the NRO budget structure as well as a sometimes detailed description of the agency's less sensitive activities and initiatives." The released portions of "FY 2010 Congressional Budget Justification, Volume IV, National Reconnaissance Program," dated May 2009, is available at:

Guillemette, Roger. "Declassified US Spy Satellites Reveal Rare Look at Cold War Space Program.", 18 Sep. 2011. []

On 17 September 2011, the NRO declassified the KH-7 GAMBIT, the KH-8 GAMBIT 3 and the KH-9 HEXAGON ("Big Bird") spy satellites. The satellites were displayed in a one-day-only public exhibit at the Smithsonian National Air & Space Museum's Udvar-Hazy Center at Dulles Airport, Va. The spacecraft "are the centerpiece of the NRO's invitation-only 50th Anniversary Gala celebration held at the center." The KH-7 was first launched in 1963. The KH-8 flew its surveillance operations between 1966 and 1984. The KH-9 flew its photographic reconnaissance missions from 1971 to 1986.; it weighed 30,000 pounds and was 60 feet long.

Costlow, Terry. "NRO Changes Architectures to Speed Data to Warfighters." Defense Systems, 17 Oct. 2011. []

Speaking at the GEOINT 2011 Symposium in San Antonio, Texas, NRO Director Bruce Carlson said that even with budget reductions, the NRO "is still managing a number of satellite launches while changing its architectures so data can be more readily accessed by soldiers in the field. The agency is also moving towards more open architectures, which will be less expensive to administer than the separately managed, 'stovepiped' programs of years past.... NRO plans to launch four satellites in four months during 2012. That's an aggressive schedule, though it's a bit less active than 2011, when six satellites were launched in seven months."

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