Author Topic: Satellite signals intelligence in the 1960s  (Read 28765 times)

Offline Skyrocket

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Re: Satellite signals intelligence in the 1960s
« Reply #60 on: 09/06/2016 07:44 PM »
More info to be declassified on this subject soon.

It's probably not what you had in mind by declassification and not exactly about the 1960s, but The Intercept has published an article about Menwith Hill, a NSA base in the UK, with plenty of information on the current high-altitude ELINT satellites:
https://theintercept.com/2016/09/06/nsa-menwith-hill-targeted-killing-surveillance/
There are interesting link at the end of the article, including:
https://assets.documentcloud.org/documents/3089495/pages/MHS-collection-assets-p1-normal.gif

Great find - this document and the article provide a strong link between PAN and the ominous NEMESIS high orbit SIGINT satellite, which was mentioned in leaked budget documents. I guess, that makes then CLIO a candidate for the NEMESIS-2 satellite.

Offline Jim

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Re: Satellite signals intelligence in the 1960s
« Reply #61 on: 09/06/2016 10:14 PM »
There are interesting link at the end of the article, including:
https://assets.documentcloud.org/documents/3089495/pages/MHS-collection-assets-p1-normal.gif

That is the more interesting of the two

Offline Skyrocket

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Offline Star One

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Re: Satellite signals intelligence in the 1960s
« Reply #63 on: 09/07/2016 12:50 AM »
That's a lot of redacting. Glad this hasn't just been dumped out there without some attempt to review the info.

Online Blackstar

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Re: Satellite signals intelligence in the 1960s
« Reply #64 on: 09/07/2016 02:17 AM »
ORION SIGINT satellite.

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Re: Satellite signals intelligence in the 1960s
« Reply #65 on: 09/07/2016 02:17 AM »

Online Blackstar

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Re: Satellite signals intelligence in the 1960s
« Reply #66 on: 09/07/2016 02:17 AM »

Online Blackstar

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Re: Satellite signals intelligence in the 1960s
« Reply #67 on: 09/07/2016 02:18 AM »
PAN COMINT satellite.

Offline Star One

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Re: Satellite signals intelligence in the 1960s
« Reply #68 on: 09/07/2016 04:04 PM »
Whoever did the redacting on these I can understand them blanking out parts of the satellite and their operational capabilities, but their names as well?

Online Targeteer

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Re: Satellite signals intelligence in the 1960s
« Reply #69 on: 09/07/2016 09:12 PM »
There are some very unhappy people at numerous three letter agencies right now
Best quote heard during an inspection, "I was unaware that I was the only one who was aware."

Offline Star One

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Satellite signals intelligence in the 1960s
« Reply #70 on: 09/07/2016 09:54 PM »
There are some very unhappy people at numerous three letter agencies right now

In relation to this I assumed some government bod did the redacting that's what happened previously in consultation with the media company, I don't think ES does it all?
« Last Edit: 09/07/2016 09:55 PM by Star One »

Offline Silmfeanor

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Re: Satellite signals intelligence in the 1960s
« Reply #71 on: 09/07/2016 09:58 PM »
Whoever did the redacting on these I can understand them blanking out parts of the satellite and their operational capabilities, but their names as well?

The blanking was most likely done by writing to the 3-letter agencies and asking them 'we're gonna publish this; what part do you _really_ want out ( even though you'd prefer to keep all of this secret) - we're gonna at least listen to your suggestions. The codename/codeword could perhaps describe the number of these satellites, perhaps the mission, the version, that sort of thing?
Operational facts like ground-resolution or operational precision could lead to deductions about the satellite specs, or technology required; even though the publication ( the intercept / Greenwald / Snowden ) is going against the 3-letter agencies, they dont publish that because they see it doesnt really serves their readers as much as it does other players on the geo-political playing field.
At least, thats the reason I can come up with for blanking out the names? Or am I totally in the wrong here?

And that big reflector does like mighty interesting...

Offline Star One

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Satellite signals intelligence in the 1960s
« Reply #72 on: 09/10/2016 08:59 PM »
More info to be declassified on this subject soon.

It's probably not what you had in mind by declassification and not exactly about the 1960s, but The Intercept has published an article about Menwith Hill, a NSA base in the UK, with plenty of information on the current high-altitude ELINT satellites:
https://theintercept.com/2016/09/06/nsa-menwith-hill-targeted-killing-surveillance/
There are interesting link at the end of the article, including:
https://assets.documentcloud.org/documents/3089495/pages/MHS-collection-assets-p1-normal.gif

Great find - this document and the article provide a strong link between PAN and the ominous NEMESIS high orbit SIGINT satellite, which was mentioned in leaked budget documents. I guess, that makes then CLIO a candidate for the NEMESIS-2 satellite.

Do you mean they are likely one & the same thing, because this sounds like COMINT rather than SIGINT. Orion is SIGINT.
« Last Edit: 09/10/2016 09:03 PM by Star One »

Offline Skyrocket

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Re: Satellite signals intelligence in the 1960s
« Reply #73 on: 09/10/2016 09:32 PM »
More info to be declassified on this subject soon.

It's probably not what you had in mind by declassification and not exactly about the 1960s, but The Intercept has published an article about Menwith Hill, a NSA base in the UK, with plenty of information on the current high-altitude ELINT satellites:
https://theintercept.com/2016/09/06/nsa-menwith-hill-targeted-killing-surveillance/
There are interesting link at the end of the article, including:
https://assets.documentcloud.org/documents/3089495/pages/MHS-collection-assets-p1-normal.gif

Great find - this document and the article provide a strong link between PAN and the ominous NEMESIS high orbit SIGINT satellite, which was mentioned in leaked budget documents. I guess, that makes then CLIO a candidate for the NEMESIS-2 satellite.

Do you mean they are likely one & the same thing, because this sounds like COMINT rather than SIGINT. Orion is SIGINT.

I consider COMINT a subset of SIGINT.

Online Blackstar

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Re: Satellite signals intelligence in the 1960s
« Reply #74 on: 09/11/2016 12:51 AM »
I consider COMINT a subset of SIGINT.

Yes, generally SIGINT includes COMINT and ELINT. There was also a category called TELINT, for telemetry intelligence, but I don't know if that term is really used anymore.

I suspect that there is a fair amount of blur between these categories. For instance, if you were to intercept images being sent via Facebook, is that COMINT? What about communications hidden in the images? The spooks probably have lots of different subcategories.

Offline Skyrocket

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Re: Satellite signals intelligence in the 1960s
« Reply #75 on: 09/11/2016 10:42 AM »
I consider COMINT a subset of SIGINT.

Yes, generally SIGINT includes COMINT and ELINT. There was also a category called TELINT, for telemetry intelligence, but I don't know if that term is really used anymore.

I suspect that there is a fair amount of blur between these categories. For instance, if you were to intercept images being sent via Facebook, is that COMINT? What about communications hidden in the images? The spooks probably have lots of different subcategories.

TELINT is now called FISINT (Foreign Instrumentation Signals INTelligence) - but these areas have become indeed rather blurred, especially since most communications are now digital.

Online Targeteer

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Re: Satellite signals intelligence in the 1960s
« Reply #76 on: 09/12/2016 02:41 AM »
I consider COMINT a subset of SIGINT.

Yes, generally SIGINT includes COMINT and ELINT. There was also a category called TELINT, for telemetry intelligence, but I don't know if that term is really used anymore.

I suspect that there is a fair amount of blur between these categories. For instance, if you were to intercept images being sent via Facebook, is that COMINT? What about communications hidden in the images? The spooks probably have lots of different subcategories.

TELINT is now called FISINT (Foreign Instrumentation Signals INTelligence) - but these areas have become indeed rather blurred, especially since most communications are now digital.

No they aren't. www.au.af.mil/au/awc/space/au-18-2009/au-18_chap13.pdf (Attachment pages 174-176) 

The SIGINT arena is comprised of three sub-areas—electronic intelligence (ELINT), communications intelligence (COMINT), and foreign instrumentation signals intelligence (FISINT)—which are differentiated based on the type of analysis to be performed and the nature of the emitter.

ELINT involves the collection and analysis of intercepted signals by other than the intended recipient. It involves the exploitation of signal “externals,” referring to the characteristics of the actual transmitted signal (including frequency of carriers and subcarriers, modulation, bandwidth, power level, etc.), beam footprint parameters, and emitter location and motion. A collection signal parameter
can be used to obtain a radio frequency (RF) fingerprint for each emitter/emitter platform, which can then be used to locate and rapidly identify the specific emitter or emitter type in subsequent intercepts. Generally, ELINT requires the least amount of analysis of the three SIGINT sub-areas.

COMINT involves the collection and analysis of intercepted signals used in communication systems by other than the intended recipient. Generally, the intercepted signal is demodulated, and the original data streams are extracted (voice, electronic messages, computer data, facsimile, etc.), which can then be processed by computer or analyzed by human analysts.

FISINT involves the collection and analysis of intercepted signals used in noncommunication data-transmission systems (telemetry systems, tracking/fusing/arming/command systems, beacons, certain video transmission systems, etc.). Generally, the intercepted signal is demodulated, and the original data streams are extracted. For encrypted communication systems, it may not be possible to extract the original data stream(s), but traffic analysis techniques can still be used to extract some useful intelligence data. Like COMINT, FISINT thus involves signal internals. However, unlike COMINT, FISINT can be used to determine the configuration, characteristics, and capabilities of the emitter and, more importantly, the overall system of which the emitter is a part.
« Last Edit: 09/12/2016 10:43 AM by Targeteer »
Best quote heard during an inspection, "I was unaware that I was the only one who was aware."

Offline Vlong

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Re: Satellite signals intelligence in the 1960s
« Reply #77 on: 09/21/2016 09:59 AM »
Very interesting. I've seen you quote that 25 year rule before, but there does seem to be some flexibility in it as little bits and pieces have started appearing about the KH-11 in recent years and that's still in use.

There have been several generations of KH-11 over the years; the original model began flying in 1976 and one could imagine is quite thoroughly obsolete by now. Besides that, the Hubble Telescope was apparently a modified KH-11 so we already have a pretty good idea of what it looks like, and after the infamous leaked photos of a Soviet shipyard in 1984, we also pretty much know its photo resolution.

Offline Vlong

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Re: Satellite signals intelligence in the 1960s
« Reply #78 on: 09/21/2016 10:02 AM »
I would argue that understanding what optical satellites do is pretty straight forward. SIGINT is not, and the reason they are dragging feet as much as possible is telling how they work lets people understand and counter it. You kind of know if something can or can not be seen from space and if you should or could hide it ... but if you don't know something is emitting critical data, you can not mask it.

The Soviets evidently did know about the SIGNIT program because during the 80s, they switched to using landline cables for communication which could not be read by a satellite.

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Re: Satellite signals intelligence in the 1960s
« Reply #79 on: 09/21/2016 12:33 PM »
The Soviets evidently did know about the SIGNIT program because during the 80s, they switched to using landline cables for communication which could not be read by a satellite.

It's way more complicated than that. You are apparently referring to communications. But SIGINT includes detecting radar signals too.

Also, if you read my series of articles, you'll note that one of the first communications targets that the Americans went after was Soviet air traffic control, meaning the communications between military pilots and ground controllers. That could be encrypted, but it was radio.

As for using landline cables, well look up Ivy Bells...


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