It's unfortunate that our very own country is navel deep in some crazy schemes to play the spy game. Even some wild and crazy ones have popped up over time. But, just like the fictitious plans, some of these are not so successful.
Photo credit: USPTO via Space.com
Remember in the Bond film Moonraker where supervillain Hugo Drax had a stealth space station in orbit that was invisible to the US military? The US military actually had such a program—code-named Misty—to secretly deploy stealth satellites into space to spy on enemies. These satellites couldn’t be seen through telescopes or tracked with radar.
The first satellite was launched by a space shuttle in 1990. But just a few days later, the satellite apparently exploded. Believing that this was an ordinary spy satellite, both Russian and American space experts thought that was the end. In fact, the explosion had been faked, and the satellite had deployed a stealth shield to hide itself while the experts were distracted by the explosion.
Less than a year later, however, the satellite was spotted briefly by amateur astronomers while it was maneuvering in space. As late as five years later, other sightings were reported, again by amateurs. The military learned a lesson. When the next Misty satellite was launched in 1999, it contained a decoy that threw off the civilian astronomers for a while.
However, at a cost of nearly $10 billion, these spy satellites weren’t useful enough in real life to justify the massive expense. The project was canceled in 2007.
Thanks to the folks over at Listverse for making this spy story available to us. Funny being caught by some amateurs, huh?
Coffee on the patio again this morning, OK?