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The United States government plans to launch a secret payload to orbit this month. The military and intelligence agencies routinely put satellites and other cargo into space without telling the public what its specific purpose is.
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is responsible for designating the radio frequencies that U.S. companies can utilize to communicate with their spacecraft. According to a filing with the FCC, a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket is scheduled to liftoff from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station before this month ends, after October 25th. Though, the date does not match any SpaceX missions in this month's public launch manifest, which suggests the mission could be a national security mission for the U.S. government.
The U.S. National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) told SpaceflightNow reporters it will launch a classified payload on a Falcon 9 rocket no earlier than (NET) October 25th. The NRO spokesperson did not offer them more details of what the payload will be, only that the mission is called NROL-108.
NRO's national security mission's are designed to provide intelligence data to United States Department of Defense, senior policy makers, as well as other members of the intelligence community. NRO already operates a fleet of satellites orbiting Earth that gather a variety of data.
The NRO owns one of the most technologically advanced autonomous Artificial Intelligence systems called 'Sentient'. The system is capable of understanding the past, analyzing the present, and controlling NRO's satellites by pointing them toward what it predicts will be the most probable outcome for the future. This 'Sentient' tool helps NRO analysts and national security government employees make logical and informed decisions for the United States. The secret payload that SpaceX may launch this month could potentially be a NRO spy satellite that gathers a variety of data and takes images of Earth, or a satellite to gather top secret information that helps the military to protect the nation. Watch the short video below to learn more about NRO's duties.
About the Author
Evelyn J. Arevalo joined Tesmanian in 2019 to cover news as a Space Journalist and SpaceX Starbase Texas Correspondent. Evelyn is specialized in rocketry and space exploration. The main topics she covers are SpaceX and NASA.