by Tom Cassauwers, Ozy
A whole lot of cash is getting funneled to space from the Defense Department.
“We have liftoff for the NROL-65 of the National Reconnaissance Office!” a voice calls out. Moments later, a gigantic orange rocket rolls out of a hanger decorated with a massive American flag and blasts off. Accompanied by a guitar riff, the rocket sails into the sky.
The video is made by the United Launch Alliance, a joint venture of Lockheed Martin and Boeing. The rocket roaring into the sky, notwithstanding the less-than-subtle advertisement, is not on the books, and the budget used to build it is secret. The National Reconnaissance Office (NRO), the owner of the payload, is a classified U.S. intelligence agency dedicated to launching and maintaining government satellites.
But this launch is just a small part of the cloak-and-dagger world of military space. And even though it isn’t as well known as NASA, it’s big business. So much so that …