Author Topic: Satellite signals intelligence - recent  (Read 3996 times)

Offline gosnold

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Satellite signals intelligence - recent
« on: 08/20/2017 07:55 PM »
The intercept  has published an article about Pine Gap, with interesting information:
https://theintercept.com/2017/08/19/nsa-spy-hub-cia-pine-gap-australia/

The most interesting document is:
https://theintercept.com/document/2017/08/19/m7600-m8300-sigint-guide/
« Last Edit: 08/20/2017 08:13 PM by gosnold »

Online Skyrocket

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Re: Satellite signals intelligence - recent
« Reply #1 on: 08/20/2017 09:01 PM »
The intercept  has published an article about Pine Gap, with interesting information:
https://theintercept.com/2017/08/19/nsa-spy-hub-cia-pine-gap-australia/

The most interesting document is:
https://theintercept.com/document/2017/08/19/m7600-m8300-sigint-guide/

Very Interesting.

A first impression:
So the joint replacement for the Mission 7500 (MERCURY) and Mission 7600 (ORION) satellites are the Mission 8300 satellites, which are also called ORION. The first of these was launched on 9 September 2003 (USA 171). Mission 8300 is a four satellite constellation.

Offline anik

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Re: Satellite signals intelligence - recent
« Reply #2 on: 08/21/2017 08:05 AM »
There are 8200 serie satellites mentioned in there documents.

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Re: Satellite signals intelligence - recent
« Reply #3 on: 08/21/2017 10:01 AM »
There are some clues to the mission numbers. Correlated with the ORION satellite know to have been operated with Pine Gap (http://nautilus.org/napsnet/napsnet-special-reports/the-sigint-satellites-of-pine-gap-conception-development-and-in-orbit-2/), this hints to following allocation:

Mission 7605 - US-903D = ORION 1 (USA 8 )
Mission 7606 - US-903E = ORION 2 (USA 48)
Mission 7607 - US-903F = ORION 3 (USA 110)
Mission 8301 - US-903H = ORION 5 (USA 171) - confirmed by the new documents
Mission 8303 - US-903J = ORION 7 (USA 223)
« Last Edit: 08/21/2017 10:02 AM by Skyrocket »

Offline Star One

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Re: Satellite signals intelligence - recent
« Reply #4 on: 08/21/2017 10:47 AM »
Does the mission number change correlate with what is believed to be the change to Advanced Orion launches?
« Last Edit: 08/21/2017 11:07 AM by Star One »

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Re: Satellite signals intelligence - recent
« Reply #5 on: 08/21/2017 11:21 AM »
Does the mission number change correlate with what is believed to be the change to Advanced Orion launches?

Most identified the the switch to the Titan-IV with Orion-3 to be the change to advanced Orion with another possible generation change with the switch to the upgraded Delta-IV on the Orion-8 launch.

Now it is unclear to me, if Orion-3 and 4 are the first iteration of "advanced Orion" or if these belong to the same generation as Orion-1 and 2, although they used higher performance launchers. I will keep three Orion generations in my lists for now:
* Mission 7600 Orion-1 and 2 (STS IUS launched)
* Mission 7600 Orion-3 and 4 (Titan IV  launched)
* Mission 8300 Orion-5 onwards (Titan-IV, Delta-IV and upgraded Delta-IV)


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Re: Satellite signals intelligence - recent
« Reply #6 on: 08/21/2017 11:25 AM »
There are 8200 serie satellites mentioned in there documents.

I think, these might be newer generation HEO satellites. 8200 is likely not NEMESIS, as these are not used for pinpointing emitters, but to tap into satellite uplinks.

Offline anik

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Re: Satellite signals intelligence - recent
« Reply #7 on: 08/21/2017 12:56 PM »
I think, these might be newer generation HEO satellites. 8200 is likely not NEMESIS, as these are not used for pinpointing emitters, but to tap into satellite uplinks

The document which mentioned 8200 satellites is undated. In other document is pointed the first 8300 satellite was launched in 2003. The first Trumpet was launched in 1994 - too early if we compare it with year of the first 8300 launch. The first Trumpet FO was launched in 2006 - close to the first 8300 launch. Nevertheless I think that 8200 satellites relate to Trumpet, not to Trumpet FO satellites.

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Re: Satellite signals intelligence - recent
« Reply #8 on: 08/21/2017 01:11 PM »
I think, these might be newer generation HEO satellites. 8200 is likely not NEMESIS, as these are not used for pinpointing emitters, but to tap into satellite uplinks

The document which mentioned 8200 satellites is undated. In other document is pointed the first 8300 satellite was launched in 2003. The first Trumpet was launched in 1994 - too early if we compare it with year of the first 8300 launch. The first Trumpet FO was launched in 2006 - close to the first 8300 launch. Nevertheless I think that 8200 satellites relate to Trumpet, not to Trumpet FO satellites.

Trumpet and the Trumpet follow ons might still be in the same mission number sequence. Rhyolite/Aquacade/early Orions were all 7600 missions and Canyon/Chalet/Vortex/Mercury were all 7500 missions over several S/C generations.

Offline Jim

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Re: Satellite signals intelligence - recent
« Reply #9 on: 08/21/2017 01:14 PM »
There are 8200 serie satellites mentioned in there documents.

I think, these might be newer generation HEO satellites. 8200 is likely not NEMESIS, as these are not used for pinpointing emitters, but to tap into satellite uplinks.

What about NROL-67?

Offline anik

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Re: Satellite signals intelligence - recent
« Reply #10 on: 08/21/2017 01:27 PM »
Trumpet and the Trumpet follow ons might still be in the same mission number sequence. Rhyolite/Aquacade/early Orions were all 7600 missions and Canyon/Chalet/Vortex/Mercury were all 7500 missions over several S/C generations.

Sorry, I meant that a numbering of 8200 satellites has begun with Trumpet, not Trumpet FO. I agree with you that Trumpet FO (and Trumpet FO-2) satellites can continue 8200 numbering. 

What about NROL-67?

I think that 2014 is too late if we compare 8200 satellites with appearance of 8300 satellites in 2003.

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Re: Satellite signals intelligence - recent
« Reply #11 on: 08/21/2017 01:33 PM »
Trumpet and the Trumpet follow ons might still be in the same mission number sequence. Rhyolite/Aquacade/early Orions were all 7600 missions and Canyon/Chalet/Vortex/Mercury were all 7500 missions over several S/C generations.

Sorry, I meant that a numbering of 8200 satellites has begun with Trumpet, not Trumpet FO. I agree with you that Trumpet FO (and Trumpet FO-2) satellites can continue 8200 numbering. 

What about NROL-67?

I think that 2014 is too late if we compare 8200 satellites with appearance of 8300 satellites in 2003.
Trumpet and the Trumpet follow ons might still be in the same mission number sequence. Rhyolite/Aquacade/early Orions were all 7600 missions and Canyon/Chalet/Vortex/Mercury were all 7500 missions over several S/C generations.

Sorry, I meant that a numbering of 8200 satellites has begun with Trumpet, not Trumpet FO. I agree with you that Trumpet FO (and Trumpet FO-2) satellites can continue 8200 numbering. 

What about NROL-67?

I think that 2014 is too late if we compare 8200 satellites with appearance of 8300 satellites in 2003.

I have not yet figured it out, how NROL-67 fits into this. Perhaps it is a geostationary component of Mission 8200.

Offline Star One

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Re: Satellite signals intelligence - recent
« Reply #12 on: 08/21/2017 01:58 PM »
Trumpet and the Trumpet follow ons might still be in the same mission number sequence. Rhyolite/Aquacade/early Orions were all 7600 missions and Canyon/Chalet/Vortex/Mercury were all 7500 missions over several S/C generations.

Sorry, I meant that a numbering of 8200 satellites has begun with Trumpet, not Trumpet FO. I agree with you that Trumpet FO (and Trumpet FO-2) satellites can continue 8200 numbering. 

What about NROL-67?

I think that 2014 is too late if we compare 8200 satellites with appearance of 8300 satellites in 2003.

Do you agree that 8300 series are the Advanced Orion satellites?

Offline anik

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Re: Satellite signals intelligence - recent
« Reply #13 on: 08/21/2017 02:06 PM »
Do you agree that 8300 series are the Advanced Orion satellites?

I think that all what we can say now on this subject is that 8300 Orion satellites have replaced earlier 7500 Mercury and 7600 Orion satellites.

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Re: Satellite signals intelligence - recent
« Reply #14 on: 08/21/2017 03:24 PM »
I am trying to summarize info about numbering systems:

4000/4100/4300/4400/5100 - P-11
7050 - Bit
7100 - Poppy
7150 - Ferret
7200 - Aftrack
7500 - Mercury
7600 - Orion
7700 - Jumpseat
8200 - Trumpet(?)
8300 - Orion (since 2003)

Offline gosnold

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Re: Satellite signals intelligence - recent
« Reply #15 on: 08/26/2017 06:48 PM »
I think, these might be newer generation HEO satellites. 8200 is likely not NEMESIS, as these are not used for pinpointing emitters, but to tap into satellite uplinks

The document which mentioned 8200 satellites is undated. In other document is pointed the first 8300 satellite was launched in 2003. The first Trumpet was launched in 1994 - too early if we compare it with year of the first 8300 launch. The first Trumpet FO was launched in 2006 - close to the first 8300 launch. Nevertheless I think that 8200 satellites relate to Trumpet, not to Trumpet FO satellites.

Trumpet and the Trumpet follow ons might still be in the same mission number sequence. Rhyolite/Aquacade/early Orions were all 7600 missions and Canyon/Chalet/Vortex/Mercury were all 7500 missions over several S/C generations.

The intercept document on program 8300 says that it is "the geostationary component of the IOSA". I think IOSA is Integrated Overhead Sigint Architecture. That means there is another component of the IOSA in another orbit. Since they changed mission number when introducing the 8300 even though they are still called Orion, they also probably switched the mission number of Trumpet to 8200 when doing the re-design for the IOSA.

« Last Edit: 08/26/2017 06:52 PM by gosnold »

Offline Star One

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Re: Satellite signals intelligence - recent
« Reply #16 on: 08/26/2017 07:56 PM »
I think, these might be newer generation HEO satellites. 8200 is likely not NEMESIS, as these are not used for pinpointing emitters, but to tap into satellite uplinks

The document which mentioned 8200 satellites is undated. In other document is pointed the first 8300 satellite was launched in 2003. The first Trumpet was launched in 1994 - too early if we compare it with year of the first 8300 launch. The first Trumpet FO was launched in 2006 - close to the first 8300 launch. Nevertheless I think that 8200 satellites relate to Trumpet, not to Trumpet FO satellites.

Trumpet and the Trumpet follow ons might still be in the same mission number sequence. Rhyolite/Aquacade/early Orions were all 7600 missions and Canyon/Chalet/Vortex/Mercury were all 7500 missions over several S/C generations.

The intercept document on program 8300 says that it is "the geostationary component of the IOSA". I think IOSA is Integrated Overhead Sigint Architecture. That means there is another component of the IOSA in another orbit. Since they changed mission number when introducing the 8300 even though they are still called Orion, they also probably switched the mission number of Trumpet to 8200 when doing the re-design for the IOSA.

Does the mission number go with the task type rather than with a particular platform?

Offline Jim

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Re: Satellite signals intelligence - recent
« Reply #17 on: 09/16/2017 07:42 PM »
Look what I came across

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Re: Satellite signals intelligence - recent
« Reply #18 on: 09/16/2017 07:54 PM »
Look what I came across
The PARCAE (a.k.a. NOSS) triplets on the MSD dispenser. The designation MSD-180 hints, that this is from the first launch, as the three PARCAEs of this launch were NRL-PL 181 to 183.

http://space.skyrocket.de/doc_sdat/noss-1.htm
http://space.skyrocket.de/doc_sdat/noss-1_msd.htm

Offline Space Ghost 1962

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Re: Satellite signals intelligence - recent
« Reply #19 on: 09/16/2017 07:58 PM »
Look what I came across
The PARCAE (a.k.a. NOSS) triplets on the MSD dispenser. The designation MSD-180 hints, that this is from the first launch, as the three PARCAEs of this launch were NRL-PL 181 to 183.

http://space.skyrocket.de/doc_sdat/noss-1.htm
http://space.skyrocket.de/doc_sdat/noss-1_msd.htm


Offline Blackstar

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Re: Satellite signals intelligence - recent
« Reply #20 on: 09/16/2017 10:54 PM »
Here:

« Last Edit: 09/16/2017 11:00 PM by Blackstar »

Offline Blackstar

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Re: Satellite signals intelligence - recent
« Reply #21 on: 09/16/2017 11:07 PM »
Look what I came across

So there's something odd/unusual about this program's classification level. I don't know exactly what it is, but I suspect that it is something like the spacecraft was never classified, but the payload (meaning the internal electronics) were classified.

The reason is that there were a lot of images of this spacecraft floating around in unclassified settings almost from the start. For instance, Aviation Week famously published a drawing of the spacecraft on the MSD back around 1976 or so. And in the 1990s I knew somebody who had gotten a public tour of NRL and he said that there were stickers showing several variants of this spacecraft stuck on the outside of one of their vacuum test chambers. Plus, NRL actually released a chart in the 1990s that showed the MSD and satellites on a timeline. Several years ago, somebody else told me about taking a public tour of NRL and seeing stickers of another classified satellite stuck on the outside of the vacuum chamber. Plus, the diagram that I posted above is from an unclassified payload user's guide to that launch vehicle.

So my guess is that NRL has handled its security classification differently than the NRO has for its classified satellites, and the overall image of the spacecraft is unclassified, but its mission and internal equipment are classified. And perhaps some later versions were classified because of their antenna configurations.

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Re: Satellite signals intelligence - recent
« Reply #22 on: 09/17/2017 09:19 AM »
Look what I came across

So there's something odd/unusual about this program's classification level. I don't know exactly what it is, but I suspect that it is something like the spacecraft was never classified, but the payload (meaning the internal electronics) were classified.

The reason is that there were a lot of images of this spacecraft floating around in unclassified settings almost from the start. For instance, Aviation Week famously published a drawing of the spacecraft on the MSD back around 1976 or so. And in the 1990s I knew somebody who had gotten a public tour of NRL and he said that there were stickers showing several variants of this spacecraft stuck on the outside of one of their vacuum test chambers. Plus, NRL actually released a chart in the 1990s that showed the MSD and satellites on a timeline. Several years ago, somebody else told me about taking a public tour of NRL and seeing stickers of another classified satellite stuck on the outside of the vacuum chamber. Plus, the diagram that I posted above is from an unclassified payload user's guide to that launch vehicle.

So my guess is that NRL has handled its security classification differently than the NRO has for its classified satellites, and the overall image of the spacecraft is unclassified, but its mission and internal equipment are classified. And perhaps some later versions were classified because of their antenna configurations.

This is similar to the also NRL built GRAB and POPPY satellites, where images and photos existed before the declassification of the program, but we did not know about the SIGINT payloads.

Offline Blackstar

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Re: Satellite signals intelligence - recent
« Reply #23 on: 09/17/2017 06:24 PM »
This is similar to the also NRL built GRAB and POPPY satellites, where images and photos existed before the declassification of the program, but we did not know about the SIGINT payloads.

Yes, my thoughts as well.

I think this is an institutional thing--NRL has its own culture of how it addresses security, and that is different from how NRO did it.

One other thought is that now that some of this stuff is getting declassified, the NRL has to submit their documents to NRO for declassification, and NRO is applying different standards than the NRL did originally. Note that some of the POPPY images that have been released have had stuff like antennas deleted off of them (or they have deleted an entire photo).


Offline Blackstar

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Re: Satellite signals intelligence - recent
« Reply #24 on: 09/17/2017 09:03 PM »
NRL has its own culture of how it addresses security, and that is different from how NRO did it.
Unsurprising.

Like also AFCRL, NRL has to have a significant public presence, otherwise they cannot get the outside involvement necessary to function, unlike NRO/others more unique function.

It might be interesting to dig more deeply into that. I think that a key aspect might be that NRL has always had a strong science component to their work. In the case of GRAB they actually used their scientific work as a cover for their SIGINT mission. It may be that an inherent part of their culture is scientific and that leans against them classifying everything, or at least making classification their default position.

Anyway, I have suspected that there is a lot of stuff about the above program that never had a classification stamp and could have gotten out into the wild without much trouble. For instance, if somebody was making stickers showing their spacecraft and slapping them onto the vacuum chamber, there was nothing to prevent them from taking those stickers home and giving them away.

Offline gosnold

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Re: Satellite signals intelligence - recent
« Reply #25 on: 09/24/2017 04:01 PM »
I took out my ruler and did some measurements on the USA-202 picture published by The Intercept some time ago:

https://satelliteobservation.wordpress.com/2017/09/24/a-radiotelescope-in-the-sky-the-usa-202-orion-satellite/

There's also an analysis of the capabilities of the satellite, especially regarding geolocation. They are really impressive and their publication must have caused quite a stir in some circles.

Offline Blackstar

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Re: Satellite signals intelligence - recent
« Reply #26 on: 09/24/2017 05:41 PM »
I never believed the 100-meter diameter estimates. They seemed to be extrapolations based upon assumed manufacturing capabilities, but they were never attached to an assessment of technical requirements. Simply put: did any antenna need to be that big? Nobody answered that.
« Last Edit: 09/24/2017 10:26 PM by Blackstar »

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Re: Satellite signals intelligence - recent
« Reply #27 on: 09/24/2017 08:26 PM »
Has anyone ever used the observed magnitudes of Orion satellites to estimate the diameter of the primary dish?

I've read that they are a few magnitudes brighter than "typical" GEO satellites: typically +8.
***

Also, is the Snowden documents leak the source for deprecating the name Mentor for these satellites?
« Last Edit: 09/24/2017 08:29 PM by zubenelgenubi »
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Offline Star One

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Satellite signals intelligence - recent
« Reply #28 on: 09/24/2017 10:38 PM »
Has anyone ever used the observed magnitudes of Orion satellites to estimate the diameter of the primary dish?

I've read that they are a few magnitudes brighter than "typical" GEO satellites: typically +8.
***

Also, is the Snowden documents leak the source for deprecating the name Mentor for these satellites?

In amongst his initial leaks there was a document that gave the program names for various satellites including these.
« Last Edit: 09/24/2017 10:39 PM by Star One »

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Re: Satellite signals intelligence - recent
« Reply #29 on: 09/24/2017 10:55 PM »
Has anyone ever used the observed magnitudes of Orion satellites to estimate the diameter of the primary dish?

I've read that they are a few magnitudes brighter than "typical" GEO satellites: typically +8.
***

Also, is the Snowden documents leak the source for deprecating the name Mentor for these satellites?

In amongst his initial leaks there was a document that gave the program names for various satellites including these.

As far as i know, there is no solid source for the "Mentor" designation. The Budget documents show the name Orion.

Offline Star One

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Satellite signals intelligence - recent
« Reply #30 on: 09/24/2017 10:57 PM »
Has anyone ever used the observed magnitudes of Orion satellites to estimate the diameter of the primary dish?

I've read that they are a few magnitudes brighter than "typical" GEO satellites: typically +8.
***

Also, is the Snowden documents leak the source for deprecating the name Mentor for these satellites?

In amongst his initial leaks there was a document that gave the program names for various satellites including these.

As far as i know, there is no solid source for the "Mentor" designation. The Budget documents show the name Orion.

That leads onto another question that being where on Earth did the Mentor designation originate from. By the way in my above response I meant the document showed the name Orion not Mentor as you say.
« Last Edit: 09/24/2017 10:58 PM by Star One »

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Re: Satellite signals intelligence - recent
« Reply #31 on: 09/24/2017 11:07 PM »
Has anyone ever used the observed magnitudes of Orion satellites to estimate the diameter of the primary dish?

I've read that they are a few magnitudes brighter than "typical" GEO satellites: typically +8.
***

Also, is the Snowden documents leak the source for deprecating the name Mentor for these satellites?

In amongst his initial leaks there was a document that gave the program names for various satellites including these.

As far as i know, there is no solid source for the "Mentor" designation. The Budget documents show the name Orion.

That leads onto another question that being where on Earth did the Mentor designation originate from. By the way in my above response I meant the document showed the name Orion not Mentor as you say.

Yes, the doc said Orion - same as in the docs from the Intercept's Menwith Hill article.

Off the top of my head, i would say i have seen the name Mentor first in a drawing by Charles Vick, but i need to check my archives.

The name Magnum had leaked before the first launch, so apparently the series was launched from the beginning as Orion.
« Last Edit: 09/24/2017 11:09 PM by Skyrocket »

Offline Michael Cassutt

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Re: Satellite signals intelligence - recent
« Reply #32 on: 09/25/2017 04:45 PM »
Has anyone ever used the observed magnitudes of Orion satellites to estimate the diameter of the primary dish?

I've read that they are a few magnitudes brighter than "typical" GEO satellites: typically +8.
***

Also, is the Snowden documents leak the source for deprecating the name Mentor for these satellites?

In amongst his initial leaks there was a document that gave the program names for various satellites including these.

As far as i know, there is no solid source for the "Mentor" designation. The Budget documents show the name Orion.

That leads onto another question that being where on Earth did the Mentor designation originate from. By the way in my above response I meant the document showed the name Orion not Mentor as you say.

Yes, the doc said Orion - same as in the docs from the Intercept's Menwith Hill article.

Off the top of my head, i would say i have seen the name Mentor first in a drawing by Charles Vick, but i need to check my archives.

The name Magnum had leaked before the first launch, so apparently the series was launched from the beginning as Orion.

MAGNUM was definitely in the news around the time of the first ORION launch in 1985 -- MENTOR appeared about a decade later, and my notes suggest the source was John Pike or Jeffrey Richelson. Of course, both frequently exchanged info, and both were in touch with Charles Vick, too.

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Re: Satellite signals intelligence - recent
« Reply #33 on: 09/25/2017 04:57 PM »
Has anyone ever used the observed magnitudes of Orion satellites to estimate the diameter of the primary dish?

I've read that they are a few magnitudes brighter than "typical" GEO satellites: typically +8.
***

Also, is the Snowden documents leak the source for deprecating the name Mentor for these satellites?

In amongst his initial leaks there was a document that gave the program names for various satellites including these.

As far as i know, there is no solid source for the "Mentor" designation. The Budget documents show the name Orion.

That leads onto another question that being where on Earth did the Mentor designation originate from. By the way in my above response I meant the document showed the name Orion not Mentor as you say.

Yes, the doc said Orion - same as in the docs from the Intercept's Menwith Hill article.

Off the top of my head, i would say i have seen the name Mentor first in a drawing by Charles Vick, but i need to check my archives.

The name Magnum had leaked before the first launch, so apparently the series was launched from the beginning as Orion.

MAGNUM was definitely in the news around the time of the first ORION launch in 1985 -- MENTOR appeared about a decade later, and my notes suggest the source was John Pike or Jeffrey Richelson. Of course, both frequently exchanged info, and both were in touch with Charles Vick, too.

Michael Cassutt

How does the name Mentor relate to Orion, is it a nickname or are the names used in some interchangeable way?

Offline Michael Cassutt

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Re: Satellite signals intelligence - recent
« Reply #34 on: 09/25/2017 05:27 PM »

Also, is the Snowden documents leak the source for deprecating the name Mentor for these satellites?
[/quote]

In amongst his initial leaks there was a document that gave the program names for various satellites including these.
[/quote]

As far as i know, there is no solid source for the "Mentor" designation. The Budget documents show the name Orion.
[/quote]

That leads onto another question that being where on Earth did the Mentor designation originate from. By the way in my above response I meant the document showed the name Orion not Mentor as you say.
[/quote]

Yes, the doc said Orion - same as in the docs from the Intercept's Menwith Hill article.

Off the top of my head, i would say i have seen the name Mentor first in a drawing by Charles Vick, but i need to check my archives.

The name Magnum had leaked before the first launch, so apparently the series was launched from the beginning as Orion.
[/quote]

MAGNUM was definitely in the news around the time of the first ORION launch in 1985 -- MENTOR appeared about a decade later, and my notes suggest the source was John Pike or Jeffrey Richelson. Of course, both frequently exchanged info, and both were in touch with Charles Vick, too.

Michael Cassutt
[/quote]

How does the name Mentor relate to Orion, is it a nickname or are the names used in some interchangeable way?
[/quote]

Going back to the posts upthread, I would say neither -- I'm pretty sure it was a single mention in print circa 1995 that has just lingered without any supporting confirmation, much like the spurious attachment of "MERKUR" to the Soviet Almaz program return spacecraft.

MC

Offline Jim

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Re: Satellite signals intelligence - recent
« Reply #35 on: 09/25/2017 05:31 PM »
How does the name Mentor relate to Orion, is it a nickname or are the names used in some interchangeable way?

Per Gunter's page

http://space.skyrocket.de/doc_sdat/orion-5_nro.htm

Geostationary orbit SIGINT Rhyolite-Aquacade-Magnum-Orion

It looks like some thought Mentor was the next name or series.

Offline Star One

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Re: Satellite signals intelligence - recent
« Reply #36 on: 09/25/2017 05:47 PM »
How does the name Mentor relate to Orion, is it a nickname or are the names used in some interchangeable way?

Per Gunter's page

http://space.skyrocket.de/doc_sdat/orion-5_nro.htm

Geostationary orbit SIGINT Rhyolite-Aquacade-Magnum-Orion

It looks like some thought Mentor was the next name or series.

When in fact they are called Advanced Orion.

Offline Star One

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Re: Satellite signals intelligence - recent
« Reply #37 on: 09/25/2017 05:57 PM »
SN’s article on the launch of NROL-42 comes complete with a free history of such satellites including their remarkably long lives.

Quote
The NRO began sending up eavesdropping satellites to Molniya orbit, known by the codename Jumpseat, in 1971 to surveil Soviet radar transmissions.

After five successful launches in the 1970s and early 1980s, the lineage moved to three much-larger Trumpet satellites launched by Titan 4 rockets in the 1990s. Two follow-on missions, requiring smaller boosters, were lofted a decade ago by Vandenberg’s first Delta 4 and Atlas 5 launches.

The newest generation likely started with the NROL-35 launch on the more powerful Atlas 5-541 in 2014.

“U.S. signals intelligence satellites have demonstrated long service lives. Recent observations by my colleagues Peter Wakelin and Brad Young reveal that all six previously launched Trumpets continue to maintain operational orbits. They consist of the first generation satellites launched in 1994, 1995 and 1997, and the follow-on satellites launched in 2006, 2008 and 2014,” said respected satellite observer Ted Molczan.

“Whether NROL-42 is intended to grow the fleet, or replace one of the older members remains to be seen.”

Quote
** PREVIOUS TRUMPET LAUNCHES **

Trumpet 1 -- Titan 4-Centaur -- May 3, 1994
Trumpet 2 -- Titan 4-Centaur -- July 10, 1995
Trumpet 3 -- Titan 4-Centaur -- Nov. 8, 1997

Trumpet F/O 1-1 -- Delta 4M+(4,2) -- June 27, 2006
Trumpet F/O 1-2 -- Atlas 5-411 -- March 13, 2008

Trumpet F/O 2-1 -- Atlas 5-541 -- Dec. 12, 2014
Trumpet F/O 2-2 -- Atlas 5-541 -- Sept. 23, 2017

https://spaceflightnow.com/2017/09/24/signals-intelligence-gatherer-successfully-launched-by-powerful-atlas-5-rocket/

Offline gosnold

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Re: Satellite signals intelligence - recent
« Reply #38 on: 10/08/2017 07:57 PM »
Some interesting info from the Air Force EELV RFP (more details there):

The high-altitude SIGINT missions are Molnya for 5t, and direct to GEO for 7t with an extended 5m fairing(GEO2). Other missions might also include SIGINT.
« Last Edit: 10/08/2017 07:58 PM by gosnold »

Offline Jim

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Re: Satellite signals intelligence - recent
« Reply #39 on: 10/08/2017 09:24 PM »
The high-altitude SIGINT missions are Molnya for 5t, and direct to GEO for 7t with an extended 5m fairing(GEO2). Other missions might also include SIGINT.

That would be the LEO mission
« Last Edit: 10/08/2017 09:24 PM by Jim »

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