The secret space shuttle mission scheduled later this month will carry an intelligence-gathering satellite that will cover 80 percent of the Soviet Union, an industry magazine reported Friday.
"When fully deployed, the spacecraft will have a span as large as 150 feet," Aviation Week and Space Technology reported. "It has the characteristics of an imaging radar or optical reconnaissance involving digital imaging, or both."The radar transmission is designed to penetrate cloud cover and would be valuable in both ocean and land surveillance," the magazine said in its Nov. 7 issue, available Friday.
Because of the military nature of the mission, NASA and the Pentagon have refused to disclose most details about it. NASA processing director Conrad Nagel said the agency was aiming for launch Nov. 28 or 29.
Aviation Week said estimates of the cost of the satellite, filled with advanced technology equipment, range as high as $500 million.