USA Today has acquired a NASA question-and-answer sheet that provides more information about the two large space telescopes the agency recently received from the U.S. National Reconnaissance Office (NRO), including their cost — an estimated $275 million — and current book value — about $75 million.
NASA announced June 4 that it had taken ownership of the telescope hardware, which is in storage at the facilities of manufacturer ITT Exelis Geospatial Systems of Rochester, N.Y. “The NRO determined that the equipment was not suitable for future intelligence missions,” according to the sheet, which was acquired from the Freedom-of-Information-Act Office at NASA headquarters after the NASA Public Affairs office denied a request for the document.
What are the space agency’s plans for the hardware? “NASA is looking into several missions and scientific investigations within the Astrophysics Division of the Science Mission Directorate,” the sheet says. “Until studies are complete, it is sufficient to say that there are areas of Dark Energy, exoplanets and traditional astrophysics that can make good use of the equipment.”