RE: USA NNN name questions

From: Barhorst L.J.C. (
Date: Wed Apr 19 2000 - 06:21:38 PDT

  • Next message: Jonathan McDowell: "USA NNN name questions"

    Hello Robert,
    I think Phillip Clark among others can answer a lot of your questions.
    For as far I know the USA name was given because the 'real' name wasn't
    always known for sure. Rather than have to change the names just number 
    then sequentially. Of course for quite a lot of sats the 'real' name is 
    known, such as Lacrosse, Trumpet, DMSP ect.
    At home I've a list of all sats launched. When more names for one sat are 
    known it is shown. This evening I'll mail this list to you.
    The early keyhole sats were in programs like Samos and Discoverer.
    The current series of key-holes is 12?
    USA 129 indeed means that it is the 129th classified sat launched
    since the starting of the numbering with USA NNN. See my list for
    which sat is USA 1.
    Also the GPS birds have an USA number.
    Leo Barhorst
    -----Oorspronkelijk bericht-----
    Van: Robert G Fenske Jr []
    Verzonden: woensdag 19 april 2000 15:06
    Onderwerp: USA NNN name questions
    	The recent spate of messages re: USA 129 has got me wondering
    about the common names given to these satellites.  Apparently USA 129 and
    USA 116 are the Keyhole spy satellites (are there others?).  Why aren't
    these satellites called Keyhole 1 & 2 (for example) or KH-13 (or whatever
    series it's up to).  Putting it differently, the Lacrosse sats are named
    Lacrosse N (and NOSS sats NOSS N) but the Keyhole sats are USA NNN, why?
    Putting it differently again, why do some of the classified sats have
    names that reflect their "real" names and others have the USA designation?
    What is the source of these names (since it isn't USSPACECOM)?  And does
    USA 129 mean it's the 129th classified sat launched?  Or are there other
    Robert Fenske, Jr.    Sw     |The Taming the C*sm*s
    Southwest Research Institute            /R---\  |
    Signal Exploitation & Geolocation Div  | I    | |"The Martian canals were
    San Antonio,Texas USA  ph:210-522-3931  \----/  | Martians' last ditch
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