Reply to post: Re: Up here in space, I’m looking down on you

USAF spaceplane back on Earth after mystery 2-year jaunt in orbit. Jeepers creepers, what has it been doing up here?

Kernel

Re: Up here in space, I’m looking down on you

"US and others have plenty of satellites for that. Better equipped for the task and there's no need to bring them back on earth to retrieve the pictures for quite some time already."

They're not bringing it back to retrieve the pictures - as you say, that problem was solved long ago.

The limitation for spy satellites such as the KH-11 series is fuel for adjusting their orbit to cover changing areas of interest. A retrievable (and presumably reusable) platform such as this one allows for maintenance, including refueling of the in-orbit manœuvring systems, as well as hardware updates to the surveillance payload.

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