Imaging Spacecraft [See August Sky & Telescope]

John Pike (johnpike@fas.org)
Thu, 27 Jun 1996 16:40:05 -0400

The long-awaited piece by Ron Dantowitz for Boston Museum of Science has 
finally hit the streets, and I would say that the wait was worth it.

The good news is that this is a high-visibility pitch for visual 
satellite tracking and imaging, and that some reasonably impressive 
results are displayed in the form of an image of STS docked with Mir -- 
these results using a 12 inch scope seem not terribly less impressive 
than those published images obtained using much larger apertures.

The key to the whole process seems to have been their proprietary C-sat 
software, and no mention is made of whether this software can be made 
available to others. However, their website at

        http://skyshow.com/

does allow as how this nice little package is on the market, and a real 
bargain at only $99, so I am hopeful that lotsa folks will lay hands on 
this.

I am also hopeful that some of these folks will notice their remark 
that:

      "... there are more than a few top-secret spy satellites up
      there. Some -- telescopes perhaps -- apear cylindrical, about 15  
      to 20 meters long, with solar panels."

I also hope that there are perhaps one or two adventurous souls who are 
predisposed to not take counsel of their remark:

     "In the interest of avoiding a massive tax audit, that's all       
    I'll say on the topic!"

For our satellite design analysis effort, viz

     http://www.fas.org/spp/military/program/imint/

we have an ongoing interest in getting some pix of blackbirds. It is not 
a question of whether, it is just a question of who and when.

-- 
John Pike
Federation of American Scientists  http://www.fas.org/
 CyberStrategy Project             http://www.fas.org/cp/
 Intelligence Reform Project       http://www.fas.org/irp/
 Military Analysis Network         http://www.fas.org/man/
 Space Policy Project              http://www.fas.org/spp/

Indeed I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just.
  - Jefferson