Monday, January 22, 2007

The spy in the sky

It is a funny world

The first of a fleet of five identical all-weather German spy satellites was http://www.spaceflightnow.com/news/n0612/19sarlupe/ Tuesday aboard a Russian rocket to collect high-resolution images of the ground 24 hours a day.

Called SAR-Lupe 1, the 1,587-pound craft is Germany's first reconnaissance satellite. It is fitted with a large radar dish antenna that can pierce darkness and thick clouds to resolve targets. The radar data can be analyzed and turned into images.

The spacecraft launched atop a Kosmos 3M rocket from Plesetsk Cosmodrome in far northern Russia a few seconds after 1400 GMT (9:00 a.m. EST) Tuesday.

The rocket released SAR-Lupe 1 into a 300-mile high Sun-synchronous orbit about a half-hour later, ending the launch in success.

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