Even if the ATD/NTOT mission is not eventually funded by BMDO and does not find another sponsor in the national security community, the task group believes that the time devoted to this study has been of use. While the complete package of technologies embodied in the ATD/NTOT proposal promises exciting advances in astronomical capabilities, it should be remembered also that much of its hardware already exists. A complete adaptive-optics system and examples of thin primary mirrors, for instance, currently sit gathering dust in testing chambers. Many of these subsystems are themselves interesting additions to the tools at the disposal of astronomers and may find scientific applications very different from those for which they were designed. The ATD/NTOT may never fly, but if this report does nothing more than illuminate some of the capabilities lurking in the shadows of the Cold War, it will have achieved something worthwhile.


1. Payton, Gary E., Deputy for Technology Readiness, BMDO, memorandum to the Space Studies Board, October 24, 1994.

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