Author Topic: Satellite signals intelligence in the 1960s  (Read 29165 times)

Offline kevin-rf

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Re: Satellite signals intelligence in the 1960s
« Reply #100 on: 08/01/2017 07:38 PM »
Not to be picky, but what about WHITECLOUD and NOSS/INTRUDER satellites. Speaking of which, didn't see anything about them. They are definitely signit birds. Are you excluding programs that used MOLNIYA orbits? 
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Offline Skyrocket

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Re: Satellite signals intelligence in the 1960s
« Reply #101 on: 08/01/2017 07:44 PM »
Not to be picky, but what about WHITECLOUD and NOSS/INTRUDER satellites. Speaking of which, didn't see anything about them. They are definitely signit birds. Are you excluding programs that used MOLNIYA orbits? 

WHITCLOUD/PARCAE and NOSS/INTRUDER are not really high-altitude birds.

Online gosnold

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Re: Satellite signals intelligence in the 1960s
« Reply #102 on: 08/01/2017 07:47 PM »
Not to be picky, but what about WHITECLOUD and NOSS/INTRUDER satellites. Speaking of which, didn't see anything about them. They are definitely signit birds. Are you excluding programs that used MOLNIYA orbits?

No, it's an article about high-orbit satellites, so the  NOSS/INTRUDER are out of scope. For LEO satellites, the "Wizard War in Orbit" series is really the go-to reference I think (along with the official SIGINT history). The links to both are at the end of the article.

Regarding molnya orbits, Trumpet and Jumpseat are mentioned, there's even an illustration of what Jumpseat might have looked like.

Offline Blackstar

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Re: Satellite signals intelligence in the 1960s
« Reply #103 on: 08/01/2017 07:47 PM »
I think that Runway and Rainfall were code names for ground processing systems, NOT for the satellites.

Offline Skyrocket

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Re: Satellite signals intelligence in the 1960s
« Reply #104 on: 08/01/2017 07:57 PM »
I think that Runway and Rainfall were code names for ground processing systems, NOT for the satellites.

In following text, RAINFALL is also interpreted as the ground station for Rhyolite.

http://nautilus.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/PG-SIGINT-Satellites.pdf

Online gosnold

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Re: Satellite signals intelligence in the 1960s
« Reply #105 on: 08/03/2017 05:51 PM »
I think that Runway and Rainfall were code names for ground processing systems, NOT for the satellites.

In following text, RAINFALL is also interpreted as the ground station for Rhyolite.

http://nautilus.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/PG-SIGINT-Satellites.pdf

I re-read the doc and RAINFALL seems to be the name of the whole program (ground station + satellite).

Offline Jim

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Re: Satellite signals intelligence in the 1960s
« Reply #106 on: 08/03/2017 06:47 PM »
I think that Runway and Rainfall were code names for ground processing systems, NOT for the satellites.

In following text, RAINFALL is also interpreted as the ground station for Rhyolite.

http://nautilus.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/PG-SIGINT-Satellites.pdf

I re-read the doc and RAINFALL seems to be the name of the whole program (ground station + satellite).

either way, this wording is wrong:
"RHYOLITE (unclassified codename RAINFALL
CANYON program (also known by its unclassified codename RUNWAY

Online gosnold

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Re: Satellite signals intelligence in the 1960s
« Reply #107 on: 08/03/2017 08:08 PM »
I think that Runway and Rainfall were code names for ground processing systems, NOT for the satellites.

In following text, RAINFALL is also interpreted as the ground station for Rhyolite.

http://nautilus.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/PG-SIGINT-Satellites.pdf

I re-read the doc and RAINFALL seems to be the name of the whole program (ground station + satellite).

either way, this wording is wrong:
"RHYOLITE (unclassified codename RAINFALL
CANYON program (also known by its unclassified codename RUNWAY

Ok. Do you see other points needing an update?

Offline Blackstar

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Re: Satellite signals intelligence in the 1960s
« Reply #108 on: 10/29/2017 01:05 AM »

Online zubenelgenubi

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Re: Satellite signals intelligence in the 1960s
« Reply #109 on: 10/29/2017 02:13 AM »
(list here)

Wow, what a laundry list of code names!  Any idea when the memo was published or distributed?

Interesting that the redaction guidance memo contains code names that are themselves, redacted.

"Redaction Quality Control supervisor"--there's a job title for one's secret resume!
« Last Edit: 10/29/2017 02:17 AM by zubenelgenubi »
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Offline kevin-rf

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Re: Satellite signals intelligence in the 1960s
« Reply #110 on: 10/29/2017 04:08 AM »
So in otherwords, people researching these topics should be filing FIOA's for the list of code words the Redaction Quality Control supervisor uses... Nice job.

So Wild Bill, that must be a wild, wild story...
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Offline Blackstar

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Re: Satellite signals intelligence in the 1960s
« Reply #111 on: 10/29/2017 11:31 AM »
So in otherwords, people researching these topics should be filing FIOA's for the list of code words the Redaction Quality Control supervisor uses... Nice job.

So Wild Bill, that must be a wild, wild story...

http://thespacereview.com/article/3017/1

"After TAKI, Stanfordís engineers invented WILD BILL in spring 1961. It might have been named after Bill Harris or Bill Rambo. WILD BILL was to search for HEN HOUSE signals from the radar under construction at Sary Shagan. Nobody was sure what frequency it used other than 50 to 400 megahertz, based upon the size of the antenna and the requirement for tracking missiles and satellites.

Stanford Electronics Laboratory built WILD BILL and WILD BILL 1, covering the frequency range of 50 to 150 megahertz that signals analysts and radar experts thought would be the most probable band. WILD BILL was launched on July 7, 1961, on the back of a CORONA spacecraft and operated for two days, finding nothing. WILD BILL 1 was launched on February 27, 1962, on the aft rack of an Agena hosting another CORONA spacecraft, and operated for only two orbits, also not finding anything. ATI built later versions of WILD BILL. The company had been formed in Palo Alto by former Stanford Electronics Laboratory engineer John Grigsby. Lockheed contracted with ATI to build the follow-on versions of Stanford payloads. Multiple WILD BILL missions also flew, trying to gather HEN HOUSE signals."

Offline Skyrocket

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Re: Satellite signals intelligence in the 1960s
« Reply #112 on: 10/30/2017 01:48 PM »


It is somewhat confusing, that there are different spellings of names compared to earlier releases. Just typos?

* OPPORKNOCKITY - OPPOR-KNOCKITY
* SQUARE TWENTY - SQUARE 20
* URSULA - URSALA 

Offline Blackstar

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Re: Satellite signals intelligence in the 1960s
« Reply #113 on: 10/30/2017 02:57 PM »
I think those are typos. OPPORKNOCKITY is a pun ("opportunity knocks only once, opporknockity tunes only once"). One thing I got a kick out of with the AFTRACK declassification is how often these codewords were little more than inside jokes. For instance, "LONG JOHN" was named after a guy named John who worked on the program who was very tall. "NEW HAMPSHIRE" and "NEW JERSEY" both had to do with where some of the electronics were designed.

So where does "NOAH'S ARK" come from?

Offline Flying Spaghetti Monster

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Re: Satellite signals intelligence in the 1960s
« Reply #114 on: 10/30/2017 11:28 PM »
I too would echo zubenelgenubi and ask if the original source of the posted SIGINT satellite listing be provided--whether it's a URL link to a Webpage of a US agency, or just post a PDF that includes the cover page as well as the entire page that this listing appears to be excerpted from.  Good researchers would do that.

Thanks in advance. ;)

Offline Blackstar

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Re: Satellite signals intelligence in the 1960s
« Reply #115 on: 10/31/2017 11:54 PM »
Further to the above list, note that both "FARRAH" and "RAQUEL" are on there: both are names apparently for versions of the P-11-type small elint satellites launched from the early 1960s into the early 1990s. Both names had leaked out decades ago, but it is still a bit surprising to see them confirmed.

http://www.thespacereview.com/article/3066/1

"URSULA" was declassified a few years ago. There was a proposal for a code-name "DRACULA" which would be "Direct Readout And Collection ULA" (using the "ULA" shorthand for "URSULA"). That name was vetoed.

Also on there is "GLORIA" and I'm guessing that it could have been another of these type of satellites. Maybe that was the actual name used instead of "DRACULA." There's also a "CARRIE" on there as well. It seems like they were applying female names to these satellites for awhile.

Offline hoku

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Re: Satellite signals intelligence in the 1960s
« Reply #116 on: 11/03/2017 06:35 PM »
I think those are typos. OPPORKNOCKITY is a pun ("opportunity knocks only once, opporknockity tunes only once"). One thing I got a kick out of with the AFTRACK declassification is how often these codewords were little more than inside jokes. For instance, "LONG JOHN" was named after a guy named John who worked on the program who was very tall. "NEW HAMPSHIRE" and "NEW JERSEY" both had to do with where some of the electronics were designed.

So where does "NOAH'S ARK" come from?

Let's try to fill in the gaps according to
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Reconnaissance_Office#SIGINT

ARGUS (Advanced Rhyolite?)
Aquacade

Canyon

Chalet

...
... any suggestions for 2 code names between "DONKEY" and "FACADE"?

... any suggestions for a code name between "FARRAH" and "GLORIA"?


INTRUDER
Jumpseat
... plus two more code names between "HAYLOFT" and "LAMPAN"

MAGNUM or Mentor or Mercury?

Orion

...
...
... this is tricky, three SIGINT programs between "P11" and "PLICAT"

Project xxx (698BK < xxx  < 770)

Project yyy (770 < yyy  < 989)

RAVEN
... plus another code name between "RAQUEL" and "REAPER"

Rhyolite
SAMOS-F
... any suggestions for another code name between "REAPER " and "SAMPAN"?

Trumpet

... any codename after "URSALA" (it now get's tricky as the alphabetical order drops, VINO ahead of VAMPAN, and WILD BILL followed by WESTON)

...
... two more code names near the end of the alphabet
« Last Edit: 11/03/2017 06:45 PM by hoku »

Offline Blackstar

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Re: Satellite signals intelligence in the 1960s
« Reply #117 on: 11/03/2017 07:35 PM »
SAMOS-F

I don't think that's on there. For starters, it was never classified.

Also, rather notably, the Navy code names like GRAB, POPPY, DYNO, are not on that list. Why make that distinction?



« Last Edit: 11/03/2017 07:37 PM by Blackstar »

Offline hoku

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Re: Satellite signals intelligence in the 1960s
« Reply #118 on: 11/29/2017 10:42 AM »
...

So where does "NOAH'S ARK" come from?
Maybe "Named for Noah Tony Taussig who was in charge of the vehicle." - see footnote 1 on page 43 in the PDF (and pages 129 to 146 for the launch information on NOAH's ARC, LONG JOHN, OPPORKNOCKITY, URSALA, etc.):

http://www.governmentattic.org/26docs/NSAinSpaceViaNRO_1975.pdf

Document gives an overview of NSA's space activities from the mid '50s to the mid '70s, including photographs and artist impressions of some of the missions (though scan quality could have been better).

« Last Edit: 11/29/2017 10:44 AM by hoku »

Offline Blackstar

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Re: Satellite signals intelligence in the 1960s
« Reply #119 on: 11/29/2017 05:40 PM »

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