China and Russia are launching an increasing number of so-called inspector satellites into space, which have the potential to move near to U.S. satellites, potentially spying on them and interfering with their functionality. Therefore, the United States is launching into space a new class of its own surveillance satellite called Silent Barker, which is advertised as being particularly effective at spying on rival inspector satellites.
Yes, you are correct. The United States’ response to satellites used to spy on American satellites is to dispatch our own space spies to spy on theirs.
The artwork for the launch recalls a 1970s science fiction novel about space-faring werefoxes (because foxes symbolize espionage and cunning!)
The launch of the Atlas V551 rocket that was supposed to lift the Silent Barker spacecraft into geosynchronous orbit was scheduled to take place at 8:34 am on August 29 at Space Launch Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral, Florida. However, the launch was postponed because Hurricane Idalia was approaching Florida at that time. At this point, an undefined time in the early part of September is anticipated.
Multiple payloads will enter a geosynchronous orbit 22,370 miles above the surface of the Earth as a result of this launch, which has been given the designation NROL-107. This means that the payloads will rotate at the same rate as the Earth and will remain essentially in the same location. The program is expected to complete at least two additional launches, each of which will include “one or more payloads,” and will reach its full operating capabilities in the year 2026.