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NASA Gift: National Reconnaissance Office Donates Two Hubble-Class Space Telescopes

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NASA's famed Hubble Telescope, whose mirrors are similar in size to the telescopes given to NASA by a US spy agency.
NASA's famed Hubble Telescope, whose mirrors are similar in size to the telescopes given to NASA by a US spy agency.

WASHINGTON -- NASA has received a gift from an unexpected source – the nation's satellite spy agency.

The space agency confirmed Monday that it has received a pair of giant identical telescopes from the National Reconnaissance Office, which oversees the country's constellation of spy satellites. NASA says the spy agency built them and then decided it didn't need them. The transfer last summer was only recently declassified.

Even with this windfall, NASA has no money to launch the telescopes anytime soon.

The telescopes have mirrors similar in size to the famed Hubble Space Telescope, but they lack cameras and instruments essential for astronomy research. The telescopes are currently in upstate New York.

Scientists hope NASA will repurpose one of the telescopes to study mysterious dark energy.

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