According to NasaSpaceFlight.com:
The United Launch Alliance (ULA) have launched their Atlas V rocket on the NROL-39 mission for the National Reconnaissance Office. Liftoff from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California was on schedule at the opening of the launch window at 23:13 local time Thursday (07:13 UTC on Friday).
The fact that a government agency has launched another “classified payload” may be of little interest; however, the logo for the mission is quite interesting:
Here’s a closer look:
Nothing is beyond their reach? From Business Insider:
Christopher Soghoian, principal technologist and senior policy analyst for the ACLU…tweeted to the Office of Director of National Intelligence, “You may want to downplay the massive dragnet spying thing right now. This logo isn’t helping.”
According to its website, the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) “designs, builds, launches, and maintains America’s spy satellites.” In addition:
From our inception in 1961 to our declassification to the public in 1992, we have worked tirelessly to provide the best reconnaissance support possible to the Intelligence Community (IC) and Department of Defense (DoD). We are unwavering in our dedication to fulfilling our vision: Vigilance From Above.
Spying on us from above brings to mind the one eye peering from the capstone of the pyramid.
The director of the NRO is appointed by the Secretary of Defense. At this time, that would be Chuck Hagel. Have a look at his bio. It includes pioneering early electronic health records, co-founding a cellular network, acting as chief operating officer of the 1990 G-7 summit in Texas, and acting as president of an investment bank. The current director of the NRO is Betty Sapp, who was appointed by the previous secretary of defense, Leon Panetta. Both worked for the CIA.
Here’s the official NRO explanation for the octopus logo:
“NROL-39 is represented by the octopus, a versatile, adaptable, and highly intelligent creature. Emblematically, enemies of the United States can be reached no matter where they choose to hide. ‘Nothing is beyond our reach’ defines this mission and the value it brings to our nation and the warfighters it supports, who serve valiantly all over the globe, protecting our nation.”
This octopus isn’t quite as menacing. Perhaps it didn’t capture the image the NRO is trying to project. Here’s another NRO logo:
Is this how the NRO sees itself? They seem a bit conflicted. Are they menacing octopuses or smiling, blond-haired superheros? Perhaps I can help. Here are images that I believe more accurately reflect the mission of the NRO.
Instead of the Belle image with the flowing blonde hair and action hero outfit, I think this is a more appropriate badge for task force members:
And instead of the octopus:
Yes, these are much more appropriate.