NOSS & Spysats (Cont'd)

R.B. Minton (
Wed, 22 May 1996 09:35:35 -0600

Thank you (Ted Molczan) for your clarifications and interpretations to some of
my thoughts on the US space program and their operations.  I had always assumed
the switch to boosters was prompted by security reasons rathar than access 
problems.  As you mention, Challenger & Lacross events were close together; so
it (access) is the more compelling reason of the two.  However, I would still
say that even if stealth was not THE reason; it was ANOTHER reason.

I remember hearing about spysat breakups & debris in the early 90's, but did not
realize it was confined to 1 satellite and that the Soviets were the source.  I
also attributed this to more stealth.  But one does have to admit that between
then and now, the US has introduced stealth into its mission planning (at least
in the form of altitude and plane changes).

I too have heard that NOSS is passive, but it is also probable that it does
have RF emissions for groundstation keeping; & who knows - it may have a active
component in its mission.  I don't think these big birds (mostly radarsats) make
power transmissions over the US because their targets are foreign assets; but 
since the majority of groundstations are probably in the US, I would expect to
find other transmissions.  I'm pretty sure that military SAR transmissions are
encrypted; but commercial SAR (such as Canada's RADARSAT) may not be.  Can any-
one add thoughts to this?

My basic feeling is that whenever seesat-l (or another amateur group) finds one
of their (our!) spysats, someone in the higher echelons voices an "oh-shit" and
a call comes into the skunkworks to add another layer of black paint to the new
one.  An example can be found at the Phillips Laboratories URL where under 
publications (or let contracts), there is a reference to studying glints from
geosync satellites.  They are obviously concerned.

And although seesat-l is not specifically a satellite sleuthing operation, it is
the most sleuthig one I've located on the WWW.  I'm not saying this is good or
bad - but it is fun - and we are all in this hobby because it is fun (the pay

I also wish to thank Bart for maintaing this medium so that we can all get 
together in nearly real-time.  I enjoy chating with those I have heard about
for the last decade, or two, or three .... (my first was Sputnik III R/B). 
This should open the door for a lot of "I can beat that" people.  I also have
to remember to wear my sunburn cream and flameproof clothing when poking thru
this door.  I can see Bart having a good chuckle.........

Keep observing & clear skies.

R. B. Minton
Computer Specialist, V A Medical Center
Work:  (303) 393-2881   FAX:  (303) 393-4671
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