Jeffrey LewisSpySat Revealed: It's MISTY

The Washington Post’s Dana Priest reports that government officials confirmed the classified “major funding acquisition program” to which Senator Rockefeller objected was the next stealth reconnaissance satellite in the MISTY program (MISTY-3).

This blog has covered the MISTY program in the past:

One observation: Some individuals holding clearances refer to a “classified piece” of the puzzle that might have dramatic effect on such proposals. I am pretty sure the classified piece is the existence of low observable (or “stealth”) satellites, which is secret only in the administrative sense of the term.

The MISTY program is extensively covered in Jeffrey Richelson (2001), The Wizards of Langley, Westview, 248-250. Richelson mentions that a quartet of amateur astronomers were able to track the satellite. One of those astronomers, Ted Molczan, recently suggested a candidate for MISTY-2.

The additional scrutiny provided by Rockefeller’s disclosure—which he asserts was cleared by the intelligence community—has revealed a few interesting details about the MISTY program. “The previously undisclosed effort has almost doubled in projected cost—from $5 billion to nearly $9.5 billion,” officials told Priest.

That’s a lotta baksheesh for one satellite.

SDIO may have inadvertently revealed the technology behind early versions of MISTY by filing a patent (right) on the stealth technology, according to Jeffrey Richelson.