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In case you needed more evidence we’re living in a 1984/Minority Report/Matrix dystopia and didn’t really notice. 

Great Bear/SDS-3
On December 5, 2000, the National Reconnaissance Office’s MLV-11 launch placed a secret data-relay spacecraft into earth orbit. The launch was nicknamed “Great Bear” in honor of a former CIA/NRO engineer named Dan Potter. The “Great Bear” logo was designed by a thirteen-year-old girl named Samantha Wingo of Stone Middle School in Centreville, Virginia, whose drawing won a National Reconnaissance Office contest in honor of Potter, an active volunteer in the local school system. According to a statement, “The Ursa Major constellation, the Great Bear, was selected as the theme for the design because it complemented Cub Run’s mascot, the bear cub, and symbolized Dan’s love and support for the students and the [NRO’s] Partners in Education Program.”
The USA-155 payload is the second spacecraft in the third-generation Satellite Data System, also known as QUASAR, which relay real-time imaging, targeting, and other information from low orbit reconnaissance satellites to military and intelligence controllers on the ground. Other SDS-3 payloads include USA-137 (CAPRICORN), USA-162 (AQUILA), USA-179 (NEMESIS), and USA-198 (SCORPIUS).

Great Bear/SDS-3

On December 5, 2000, the National Reconnaissance Office’s MLV-11 launch placed a secret data-relay spacecraft into earth orbit. The launch was nicknamed “Great Bear” in honor of a former CIA/NRO engineer named Dan Potter. The “Great Bear” logo was designed by a thirteen-year-old girl named Samantha Wingo of Stone Middle School in Centreville, Virginia, whose drawing won a National Reconnaissance Office contest in honor of Potter, an active volunteer in the local school system. According to a statement, “The Ursa Major constellation, the Great Bear, was selected as the theme for the design because it complemented Cub Run’s mascot, the bear cub, and symbolized Dan’s love and support for the students and the [NRO’s] Partners in Education Program.”

The USA-155 payload is the second spacecraft in the third-generation Satellite Data System, also known as QUASAR, which relay real-time imaging, targeting, and other information from low orbit reconnaissance satellites to military and intelligence controllers on the ground. Other SDS-3 payloads include USA-137 (CAPRICORN), USA-162 (AQUILA), USA-179 (NEMESIS), and USA-198 (SCORPIUS).

Installing a giant work at Metro Pictures in NYC. Hope to see some of you tomorrow evening at the opening!

Reagan hated reading, so the CIA made briefing videos for him. Some of these strange videos were recently declassified. Here’s one about the Soviet Space Program. 

Saw this patch for the X-37, the Air Force’s secret “space plane.” Interesting that eyes are depicted, perhaps suggesting an optical mission for the mysterious spacecraft. Also heard a rumor that a model of the X-37 installed at US Space Command hangs upside-town, with a telescope protruding from its payload bay. Hrm…..

The Last Pictures has arrived in geostationary orbit. Tonight it will be visible through a telescope in the constellation Orion from the East Coast around 11:11 pm. It will stay at this spot in the sky for the next fifteen years, and then a slightly higher orbit for the following five billion or so. Earth has acquired a new moon!