When the Space Shuttle flew its 135th and final mission in July and retired without a direct replacement, some critics accused Washington of abandoning America’s 50-year orbital legacy. The Telegraph even called it a “retreat.”

Then last week, the U.S. government revealed new and formerly secret space initiatives that underscore America’s continuing orbital dominance. NASA announced plans for the biggest-ever rocket, set to launch in six years.

Meanwhile, the hush-hush National Reconnaissance Office (NRO), keeper of America’s most secretive surveillance satellites, used the occasion of its 50th birthday to declassify its ongoing orbital eavesdropping campaign over Afghanistan.

http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2011...e-war-arsenal/