On Sunday, the US Space Force sent a rocket into space carrying American spy satellites. These satellites have a special job: they’re going to keep an eye on anything in space that could be a threat. This news comes from CBS.
These satellites were a secret part of the National Reconnaissance Office’s mission. They were launched from Cape Canaveral in Florida on top of a United Launch Alliance Atlas 5 rocket.
Their goal is to go very high up in space, to a spot where military and weather satellites usually hang out. This spot lets them stay in the same place in the sky.
“The idea of the mission is to put a satellite in geosynchronous orbit, and then to be looking at that orbital regime and get a sense of what’s happening day to day,” NRO Director Chris Scolese told CBS News. “We also want to know if there is something going on that is unexpected, or shouldn’t be going on that could potentially represent a threat to a high-value asset, either ours or one of our allies.”
This rocket launch shows that different countries are competing to have the most power in space, especially when it comes to spy stuff. Russia and China are also said to be working on technology to mess with satellites, which worries the Space Force people.
We don’t know everything about what’s on this rocket or what it’s doing, but the Space Force folks did say that the satellites will help them see better in a special part of space called the “geo belt.” This is more than 22,000 miles above the Earth’s equator, and they’re calling this mission “Silent Barker.”
“A huge element of deterrence is the ability for the adversary to know what we can and cannot see,” Commander of Space Systems Command for Space Force Michael Guetlein told CBS News. “So we actually want our competitors to know that we have eyes in geo, that we can see what’s happening.”
“Not only are we going to maintain the custody and the ability to detect what’s going on in geo, but we’ll have the indications and warnings to know there’s something out of the normal occurring,” he added. “And that goes a long way towards deterrence.”
More satellites will join these ones in another mission, according to CBS. The government wants this spy satellite system to be fully working by 2026, which is definitely making the space competition more intense.