Launch date: August 9, 2010
Source: People's Republic of China (PRC)
Comments: YAOGAN 10 is a secret Chinese reconnaissance satellite. The state-run Xinhua news agency reported Yaogan 10 will conduct scientific experiments, carry out land surveys, estimate crop yields and help respond to natural disasters. But the Yaogan satellite is likely a military asset with a synthetic aperture radar system designed to observe locations in all weather and lighting conditions. Observers believe the Yaogan series, which began launching in 2006, is a new fleet of high-resolution optical and radar reconaissance satellites. Alternating launches from Taiyuan and the Jiuquan space base in northwestern China have orbited radar and electro-optical spy satellites. The most recent Yaogan launch in March included three spacecraft that are believed to be naval observation satellites. China announced Monday's launch about 24 hours in advance, a typical policy for most Chinese military payloads.
Check out the OTV-2 (aka USA 226) flight tracks. It's not your normal military satellite. It's 'deep black', an unmanned space plane with remarkable ability to change orbit, that has the Chinese and the Russians really worried, because they are years away from developing anything similar. Just check the welds and general fabrication levels of Soyuz and Shenzhou if you ever get a chance to see one of 'em up close and personal. Reminds me of the fabrication levels of WW2 T-34's. Woof.
Launch date: March 5, 2011
Source: United States (US)
Comments: The launch marks the start of the X-37 B programme's second space mission. The air force's other X-37B plane, known as OTV-1 , returned to Earth in December 2010 after a similarly mysterious seven-month maiden mission. This is a classified mission.