Re: Another LES-8 (76-23A) sighting

From: Allen Thomson (
Date: Sun Mar 27 2005 - 13:14:41 EST

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    Ed Cannon said,
    > Those images do leave one wondering how it could be
    > bright enough to be seen without magnification from
    > geosynchronous range.  It and LES-9 were powered by
    > radioactive packages and have no solar panels.
    Also, note :
     "The MIT Lincoln Laboratory is involved in a program to demonstrate the 
    technology necessary to deploy a highly survivable satellite communication 
    system for command and control of the SIOP forces. The effort is based upon 
    the use of two satellites (LES-8 and LES-9) carefully designed (both 
    electronically and physically) so that detection of the satellite presence 
    is extremely difficult."
     The passage quoted came out in mid-1971, well before the actual launch of 
    LES-8/9 in March 1976, so some of the design requirements may have changed. 
    OTOH, if the optical signature control expriment did indeed depend on the 
    rumored plane mirror, orientation of the satellite would be critical, and 
    likely cease to be possible once control of the satellite was lost.
    This is why I think it would be useful for someone to get a set of light 
    curves for LES-8: If it does have a big mirror on it and is tumbling, then 
    there should be both high, sharp maxima and deep minima.
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