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Eye in the sky: U.S. to shoot top-secret spy satellite into orbit

- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 28, 2013

The United States on Wednesday afternoon is set to launch a top-secret surveillance satellite into orbit via the nation's biggest rocket, shooting out of Vandenberg Air Force Base near Los Angeles.

The mission, dubbed NROL-65, is officially scheduled to lift-off at 10:52 a.m. PST, CNN reported.

The rocket will be carting a satellite for the National Reconnaissance Office, the federal force that's "in charge of designing, building, launching and maintaining America's intelligence satellites," the agency said on its website.

The launch is believed to be "a $1 billion high-powered spy satellite capable of snapping pictures detailed enough to distinguish the make and model of an automobile hundreds of miles below," the Los Angeles Times reported, citing military experts. Details of the mission are mostly secret, however.

The Delta IV Heavy rocket, the nation's largest, will carry it into orbit. The 232-foot rocket was a joint development of the U.S. Air Force and the United Launch Alliance, a partnership of Boeing and Lockheed Martin, CNN reported.

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