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Orion437
2007-Jun-08, 10:51 PM
http://www.space.com/news/060707_graves_web.html

BROYE-LES-PESMES, France - A French space-surveillance radar has detected 20-30 satellites in low Earth orbit that do not figure in the U.S. Defense Department's published catalogue, a discovery that French officials say they will use to pressure U.S. authorities to stop publishing the whereabouts of French reconnaissance and military communications satellites...

"We have discussed the Graves results with our American colleagues and highlighted the discrepancies between what we have found and what is published by the U.S. Space Surveillance Network," said one French defense official responsible for the Graves operation. "They told us, 'If we have not published it in our catalogue, then it does not exist.' So I guess we have been tracking objects that do not exist. I can tell you that some of these non-existent objects have solar arrays."

Col. Yves Blin, deputy head of the space division at the French joint defense staff, said France would wait until it had acquired, with the help of the German radar, further information about the 20 to 30 secret satellites in question before beginning serious negotiations with the United States on a common approach for publishing satellite orbit information.

"Right now we do not have enough cards in our hand to begin negotiatons," Blin said here at the Graves radar transmitter site June 7. "We need more time to be sure of what we are seeing. At that point we can tell our American friends, 'We have seen some things that you might wish to keep out of the public domain. We will agree to do this if you agree to stop publishing the location of our sensitive satellites."

What do you think of this? Could this be a simple "omission"? Or are this really black/secret satellites?

Sorry for my english.

Van Rijn
2007-Jun-08, 11:08 PM
It's pretty hard to hide satellites, but I think it's pretty much a given that public discussion of some spy sats would be out of the question for the U.S. government.

stutefish
2007-Jun-09, 12:00 AM
What evidence do the French have that these satellites are American?

I mean, it's a bit of a leap from "uncatalogued radar return" to "sercret American satellite".

Waspie_Dwarf
2007-Jun-09, 12:24 AM
What evidence do the French have that these satellites are American?

Why would the U.S. Space Surveillance Network leave them off their list if they belonged to someone else? Given the number of objects involved, 20-30, they are almost certainly either American or Russian as no other nation has the ability to launch that many satellites unannounced.

triclon
2007-Jun-09, 06:00 AM
What if they're alien spacecraft?

Maksutov
2007-Jun-09, 07:13 AM
What if they're alien spacecraft?Contact!

gwiz
2007-Jun-09, 08:50 AM
For many years the US has kept the orbital elements of various classes of military satellites secret. The existance of these satellies is only acknowledged by an announcement that something has been launched. This does not stop the orbital elements being calculated and published by amateur satellite observers.

Fairly recently, the US also stopped publishing the elements of Japanese military satellites. It looks like the French are using a bit of persuasion to get their own military satellites the same status.

None of this will fool the amateurs, so how will it fool potential enemy nations?

PhantomWolf
2007-Jun-09, 11:14 AM
Well drat, seems we're busted....

Okay, we confess, they are ours. That's right. New Zealand has been launching secert satelites since the late-80's so we can spy on you foreigners and find out what you are all up too, especially France. After France's attack on the Rainbow Warrior it was determined that we needed to know what everyone was up too so we could prevent such a thing happening again, hence our secret satelite programme. Since no-one would expect us to be launching them, no one looked down this way for launches, it was all too easy to get them up without anyone knowing.

Well now that we have been busted I guess that I can reveal what we have been working on too. We know who the real culprits of 9/11 were.

It was the French.

I'd like to spell it all out here on the board, but it's a long tale, so if you really want to know the truth of how the French created Osma Bin Laden and Al Qaeda, and why they set up and ordered 9/11 in a bid to remove the US as the world superpower and replace it with Europe, the French at it's head, then please send me US$95 for my Book and DVD set...

Moose
2007-Jun-09, 02:43 PM
then please send me US$95 for my Book and DVD set...

What, no badly designed website? I won't shell out cash if there's no website. :hand:

Murff
2007-Jun-09, 06:11 PM
I remember once when the French messed with an Air Force mission in Libya and the only collateral damage ended up being the French Embassy. Do these people ever learn...now their gonna have laser burns from our secret laser satellites...oops, I've said too much.

publiusr
2007-Jun-09, 06:47 PM
One more reason for Ares V. Armored satellites.

Impium Orexis
2007-Jun-09, 08:23 PM
We have seen some things that you might wish to keep out of the public domain.

Uh, too late? Not sure how smart it is to threaten to reveal spy satellites in the press. That's kind of like threatening to reveal that your boss is having an affair... over the office intercom. :doh:

Nicolas
2007-Jun-10, 09:20 PM
The revealing is not in the existence of secret satellites, but in their orbit specifics.

Noclevername
2007-Jun-10, 09:31 PM
Uh, too late? Not sure how smart it is to threaten to reveal spy satellites in the press. That's kind of like threatening to reveal that your boss is having an affair... over the office intercom. :doh:


It's more akin to announcing that someone in the building is having an affair, and you'll announce who it is and in which office.

Moose
2007-Jun-10, 11:16 PM
It's more akin to announcing that someone in the building is having an affair, and you'll announce who it is and in which office.

And which photocopier buffer you need to raid to get the really juicy stuff.

tofu
2007-Jun-11, 02:05 PM
There was a great article in Wired back in January about some amateurs that had found these satellites.

Apparently, the newest ones have an inflatable structure that they deploy to hide themselves from visual observation.

http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/14.02/spy.html?pg=2&topic=spy&topic_set=

Fazor
2007-Jun-11, 03:03 PM
Doesn't suprise me; but I think it's funny to make a big deal out of it. Any country that has launch capability most likely has "secret" satelites in orbit. What's shocking about that? Nothing, really. And threatening to reveal thier orbital specifics, as mentioned, isn't really that much of a threat anyway. Even if our "enemies" knew where one of these satelites were, it doesn't mean they know what it does. Also, just because they've found 20-30 of these doesn't mean there's not 90-150 of them ;). Who says these aren't old "secret" satelites that have more sophisticated counterparts now?

Lastly, historically speaking, threatening the US Military doesn't seem like the wisest tactic. Although bringing the "bleeding-heart" public into it by making the article public might be smart, as the american public puts the most pressure on military decision making. Yet I hardly think the public at large is going to care about the "fairness" of the US publishing other countrie's satelite information.

That's my 2-cents on it, anyway.

gwiz
2007-Jun-11, 07:12 PM
Even if our "enemies" knew where one of these satelites were, it doesn't mean they know what it does.
If it's in a low-altitude sun-synchronous orbit, the best bet is that it's a reconnaissance satellite. If you know when a reconnaissance satellite is next due to come over the horizon, you can plan when to carry out the activities you don't want it to see.

CJSF
2007-Jun-11, 07:26 PM
Yeah, but if there are enough of them up there, you have very shot periods of time where you can carry anything out... especially if the satelilte in question is pointable.

CJSF

Anla'Shok
2007-Jun-11, 08:22 PM
Back in the Day, we had the SR71 and U2 programs to fill the time slots when there are gaps. Now days we have Google!

We also have Predator and Raven.

vonmazur
2007-Jun-11, 08:58 PM
Tiens: The ESPN put them up, to spy on the French Open!!

Dale

dirty_g
2007-Jun-11, 09:42 PM
The way I look at it is this....... If france can detect it then I am very sure Russia can detect it also and maybe China can too. I suppose the only real countries left to spy on that do not know it are the Irainians or Syrians maybe?? I can't see why the U.S would want to look at anybody else.

Gillianren
2007-Jun-12, 12:46 AM
The way I look at it is this....... If france can detect it then I am very sure Russia can detect it also and maybe China can too. I suppose the only real countries left to spy on that do not know it are the Irainians or Syrians maybe?? I can't see why the U.S would want to look at anybody else.

It's not as though all countries haven't always known that there are spies within them. Heck, ideally, you know who the spies are so you can leave them in place but feed them false information. That's what Elizabeth I preferred to do, anyway.

Larry Jacks
2007-Jun-12, 02:09 AM
I can't see why the U.S would want to look at anybody else.

Back in 1978, I switched from the Army to the Air Force. They send me to Fort Meade, Maryland and tried to make me a Hebrew linguist (bad mistake). Guess which country speaks Hebrew. The moral is that the US looks at everybody, just as a lot of countries look at us.

Back in the 1920s, some good hearted fool in the US government shut down our code breaking organization saying, "Gentlemen don't read each other's mail." What an idiot. The damage he did took years to repair as world events spiraled into WWII.

Jim
2007-Jun-12, 02:47 PM
Well, he was right. Gentlemen don't. But, thank God, spooks do!

captain swoop
2007-Jun-12, 02:54 PM
It's not as though all countries haven't always known that there are spies within them. Heck, ideally, you know who the spies are so you can leave them in place but feed them false information. That's what Elizabeth I preferred to do, anyway.

As did the british in WW2.

its all well documented 'Operation Double Cross' Many German agents were 'turned' after capture and used to feed misinformation (along with some good of course)

For example he V1 and V2 attacks on London were re directed away from the city centre after the germans recieved false info saying they were overshooting.

Because all their agents were captured they only got false infor so there were no contradictoins to make them doubt what they were being told.

Jim
2007-Jun-12, 03:05 PM
I can't remember the name of the movie; it was set in Berlion during the Airlift.

The main character is speaking with another character, who is watching the cargo planes land. He says the Russians are paying him to keep count. The main character mentions that the previous day's numbers are printed in the newspaper every morning. "Yes, but the Russians don't believe them," says the "spy."

Another plane lands, and the "spy" doesn't write it down. The main character mentions this to him. "Oh," he says, "that one was propaganda."

Celestial Mechanic
2007-Jun-12, 07:45 PM
France should consider hiring the Piranha Brothers to make their case:

That's a nice bunch of spy satellites you got there. Would be a pity if their orbital elements got out and something were to happen to them, eh squire? Could I interest you in some fruit machines, or maybe a nice Chinese watch?

publiusr
2007-Jun-15, 07:02 PM
ONERA has the new over the horizon "Nostradamus" array that looks like something from HAARP. They will soon be able to defeat stealth.

Cylinder
2007-Jun-18, 05:53 AM
If it's in a low-altitude sun-synchronous orbit, the best bet is that it's a reconnaissance satellite. If you know when a reconnaissance satellite is next due to come over the horizon, you can plan when to carry out the activities you don't want it to see.

Ahh - SATRAN. I hated wading through those tables every [redacted].

baric
2007-Jun-18, 06:50 PM
real simple solution... If no country owns up to the satellites in question, then shoot them down as space junk. China could always use a little more target practice for their anti-satellite weapons.

Moose
2007-Jun-18, 06:55 PM
1) Instead of one large unknown object you get many smaller unknown objects on divergent orbits. Any of which can damage valuable known stuff if they were to collide.

2) You commit what is (by treaty) a hostile act against some unknown foreign nation. These things can escalate pretty wildly. I'm thinking, in particular, of the Cuban missile crisis.

3) Even if you do successfully de-orbit the unknown satellite intact, you have to do so in a way so as to not endanger whoever it's going to end up landing on.

captain swoop
2007-Jun-18, 08:10 PM
Also just because you don't know who it belongs to doesn't mean it belongs to no one.

If you saw a car parked on the street but didn't know who owned it would you smash it up?

Jim
2007-Jun-18, 10:09 PM
If you saw a car parked on the street but didn't know who owned it would you smash it up?

Depends. Did they leave the keys in the ignition?

Maksutov
2007-Jun-19, 02:23 PM
France should consider hiring the Piranha Brothers to make their case:
Originally Posted by D. Piranha
That's a nice bunch of spy satellites you got there. Would be a pity if their orbital elements got out and something were to happen to them, eh squire? Could I interest you in some fruit machines, or maybe a nice Chinese watch?
That's fine until the hedgehog comes in from the cold, looking for Dimsdale.

Celestial Mechanic
2007-Jun-19, 02:46 PM
That's fine until the hedgehog comes in from the cold, looking for Dimsdale.
Got to watch out for Spiny Norman. ;)

gwiz
2007-Jun-22, 03:30 PM
An amateur satellite tracker comments on the French statement:
http://www.satobs.org/seesat/Jun-2007/0118.html

If France will publish orbital elements from its Graves system, I would expect
to find, most (if not all) of the 20 to 30 that they cannot identify, among our
106 LEO and MEO objects, all of which we have identified. It is not that we are
more intelligent than the Graves analysts; it is just that we have been doing
this far longer than they have.

Roger E. Moore
2007-Jul-03, 03:48 PM
The phrase "black satellites" came up in some research I was doing a few weeks ago, looking up old copies of Aviation Week and Space Technology at a library. An editorial from 1960 in AW&ST mentioned the hypothetical appearance of "black satellites" over America as being an indicator that the Soviet Union had developed bomb-carrying satellites capable of firing directly down over the U.S., evading early-warning networks. The scenario was very similar to the later development of the Polyus satellite:

http://www.astronautix.com/craft/polyus.htm

So "black satellites" have been around, at least as a phrase, since 1960. Fun stuff in some of these old AW&ST issues!