Re: My two cents - Spy satellites.

Neil T. Clifford (
Tue, 11 Jul 1995 01:44:53 +0000 (BST)

Walter Nissen writes:

|>> Subject: Re: Spy Satellites - Listing available?
|>> |>Is a listing of known spy/military satellites available?  (I'm hoping
|>> |>for something that lists them by catalog number)
|>> You could look in the satellite situation report and make a list of all
|>> those for which 'elements are not available' ;-)
|>I don't understand the smiley.  I am pleased for you that you are having a
|>good time, and I wouldn't want to detract from that in any way.  In fact,
|>I'm having a good time.  8->  Still, haven't you given the precise
|>definition requested?  At least if you assume the question refers to USA
|>black satellites, as opposed to USA open military satellites, non-USA
|>military satellites, etc.?

The smiley was to indicate that it was somewhat tongue-in-cheek; as you
point out this would only give you a list of US black sats. Completely
undeclared ones (if they exist) would be missed and it might be hard to
pick out the grey sats (except for the USA xx designation of course).
Most Russian ones come under the Cosmos banner and the beginner would
have a hard time picking out the Ofeqs and Helios' of this world (space?).

I've found one of the articles I refered to. 'A Review of Recent
American Military Space Operations' by Dwayne A Day of the Space Policy
Institute (Journal of the British Interplanetary Society, vol. 46, pp
459-476, 1993) will fill in some of the information on various families
of US military sats from civilian sats leased to the US DoD, through
better known sats such as Navstar and DMSP to the Lacrosses, Keyholes,
NOSS, Jumpseat, Magnum, etc, etc. It covers the period 1987-1992. All
the sats described are listed in a table with the international
designation (which can of course be cross ref'ed to the NORAD cat no. in
the sat. sit. report).

While you are sitting in the library stacks leaf through other copies of
JBIS (and its sister publication Spaceflight). Phil S Clark has written
numerous articles covering the Soviet/Russian space military machine
over the last 15/20 years which can be found in these publications. Bear
in mind that the older articles will be somewhat speculative of course.
Earlier (pre 87) US sats are covered in articles similar to the one
mentioned above.

I hope this is useful.

Neil Clifford