U.S. News & World Report article: Lack of Intelligence

From: Ted Molczan (molczan@rogers.com)
Date: Mon Aug 04 2003 - 15:22:39 EDT

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    Spy satellite sleuths are likely to find this article of great interest:
    Most notable for observers is confirmation of suspicions held by some of us,
    of problems with the NOSS payload launched on 2001 Sep 08: 01040A and C (SSN
    26905/26907), and the KeyHole launched on 2001 Oct 05: 01044A / 26934.
    Only two of the expected three NOSS were deployed, leading to speculation that
    the third failed to separate from the Centaur stage.
    The KeyHole entered the standard roughly 260 x 1010 km orbit, but after three
    months manoeuvred to a more circular 410 x 860 km orbit, and has manoeuvred
    only once since. The higher perigee reduces drag, greatly reducing the need
    for reboost manoeuvres. 
    Not long ago, I heard a rumour that the spacecraft had major problems and was
    not yet operational. My suspicion had been that the low-drag orbit was
    intended to conserve propellant as a hedge against delays in the FIA (Future
    Imaging Architecture) program, but U.S. News reports that the spacecraft has
    Ted Molczan
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