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Secret tests for Pentagon expected on next shuttle

The Defense Department used its shuttle priority status to insist secret military experimental cargo be carried aboard the fourth space shuttle flight June 27, before originally planned, the Huntsville Times reports.

Citing declassified congressional testimony, the report said the bulk of the military payload will be three devices -- a Cirris cryogenic infrared radiation instrument, the Horizon ultraviolet program, and an automatic space sextant.

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The Cirrus and HUP horizon-scanning instruments are designed to expand the Air Force's understanding of what the Earth, its horizon, and deep space look like, the newspaper said.