Public Eye project of the Federation of American Scientists ordered this IKONOS
satellite image of the secret U.S. airbase called Area 51—located at
Groom Lake, Nevada—to test the limits of the government's
"shutter-control" policy. Groom Lake is one of America's most sensitive
and closely guarded military flight test centers. After a two-month delay that
included the release of a two-meter Russian image, Space Imaging, which is a
subsidiary of defense contractor Lockheed Martin, finally released the image.
The hangar seen here is configured to allow an aircraft within to taxi or
"drive-thru" with its engines running, out of view of prying
satellite eyes. The horizontal black line at the bottom center of the image is
a blast deflector, which enables the hidden aircraft to run its engines to full
power without damaging nearby buildings or vehicles.