Subject: 8X: The monster that ate the budget From: [email protected] (Allen Thomson) Date: 1995/10/07 Message-Id: <[email protected]> Newsgroups: sci.space.policy,alt.war,alt.politics.org.cia The Age of Giants is not over (unfortunately): U.S. Launches Costly Overhaul of Spy Satellites Los Angeles Times, September 28, 1995 By James Risen and Ralph Vartabedian [EXCERPTS] The United States is developing a new, highly flexible series of satellites, code-named 8X, t[o] provide... vastly expanded photographic coverage... The 8X will be a major upgrade of the KH-12, the current spy satellite workhorse, sources said. The 8X, under development by Lockheed Martin Corp., will be a behemoth, weighing as much as 20 tons.. Experts estimated that the 8X modification program could cost as much as $1.5 billion, not including the cost of the $350- million Titan IV rocket needed to loft each satellite payload or the elaborate ground equipment required to process the data. "One of the biggest criticisms (of the intelligence community) during the Gulf War was the lack of broad-area (photographic) coverage--the military wanted to be able to look at all of Iraq at the same time," said one source. "This is an attempt to deal with that concern for broader coverage by the military and to do it by modifying an existing system without having to develop an all-new satellite." Sources said the 8X program has also been the subject of a bitter budget fight between Congress and the intelligence community. [Former DCI] Woolsey argued that by modifying the current generation of spy satellites into the 8X, the intelligence community could meet the military's demands. But [former SSCI chairman] DeConcini argued that the 8X was a waste of money, especially when there was a backlog of unused spy satellites in storage.