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Secret Spy Telescopes Made in Rochester

By: Caroline Tucker
Updated: June 5, 2012

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NASA could soon get two former spy telescopes from right here in Rochester.

The high-tech gadgets are currently being stored in the Rochester Tech Park in Gates.

The Rochester operations for ITT Exelis developed and built the telescopes in the late 1990's.

But the telescopes have never been used.

The company can't reveal what the telescopes look like but it's been reported that they are similar to the Hubble telescope.

The National Reconnaissance Office, which operates the nations' spy satellites, is now offering the unused telescopes to NASA.

RIT's Director of the Center for Detectors says those telescopes will be fitted with cameras and highly-sensitive detectors to investigate more of the universe.

"This is a huge gift for astronomy because these are exactly the kinds of telescopes we want to be using to answer the most fundamental questions in the universe and to also find another earth, exoplanets outside of our solar system those are the highest science priorities in astronomy," said Prof. Don Figer, Director of Center for Detectors at RIT.

Exelis says they were unable to even mention that they built these telescopes until this announcement was made.


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