US satellite spy agency donates telescopes to NASA

Jun 04, 2012

(AP) -- NASA has received a gift from an unexpected source — the nation's satellite spy agency.

The space agency confirmed Monday that it has received a pair of giant identical telescopes from the National Reconnaissance Office, which oversees the country's constellation of spy satellites. NASA says the built them and then decided it didn't need them. The transfer last summer was only recently declassified.

Even with this windfall, NASA has no money to launch the telescopes anytime soon.

The telescopes have mirrors similar in size to the famed Hubble Space , but they lack cameras and instruments essential for astronomy research. The telescopes are currently in upstate New York.

Scientists hope will repurpose one of the telescopes to study mysterious dark energy.

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