Author Topic: Satellite signals intelligence in the 1970s-1990s  (Read 23696 times)

Offline Blackstar

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Re: Satellite signals intelligence in the 1970s-1990s
« Reply #40 on: 09/03/2023 01:35 pm »
I know it is my fault, but I think we should discuss HEXAGON ops in the HEXAGON thread, not the satellite signals intelligence thread.

However, they did experiments with HEXAGON reentries. I wrote about that 13 years ago, which was before HEXAGON was declassified:

https://www.thespacereview.com/article/1715/1


Offline Skyrocket

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Re: Satellite signals intelligence in the 1970s-1990s
« Reply #41 on: 09/03/2023 11:25 pm »
Do we know which mission the "Navy navigation satellite" flew on?
We can rule out:
* The P-11 series SIGINT sats (MABELI, URSULA, TOPHAT, RAQUEL, FARRAH)
* IRCB (an STP Infra red calibration balloon)
* the three S3 satellites (STP experimental satellites with known payloads)
* Pearl Ruby (a DARPA payload, likely an IR experiment)
Then also we have seven mysterious P-801 satellites, which are most probably not SIGINT (as I had posted earlier), but as there were seven, these do not fit the "one Navy navigation satellite" description

This leaves only the even more mysterious P-226 on the Hexagon 1210 mission.
« Last Edit: 09/03/2023 11:26 pm by Skyrocket »

Offline jcm

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Re: Satellite signals intelligence in the 1970s-1990s
« Reply #42 on: 09/04/2023 12:03 am »
Do we know which mission the "Navy navigation satellite" flew on?
We can rule out:
* The P-11 series SIGINT sats (MABELI, URSULA, TOPHAT, RAQUEL, FARRAH)
* IRCB (an STP Infra red calibration balloon)
* the three S3 satellites (STP experimental satellites with known payloads)
* Pearl Ruby (a DARPA payload, likely an IR experiment)
Then also we have seven mysterious P-801 satellites, which are most probably not SIGINT (as I had posted earlier), but as there were seven, these do not fit the "one Navy navigation satellite" description

This leaves only the even more mysterious P-226 on the Hexagon 1210 mission.



In my opinion a classified Navy nav sat is really unlikely.  Although aspects of the operational Transits were mildly classified
at one point, data on both the Transit and Timation programs are now fully available. I suspect  the statement is an error,
either
(1) confusing one of the attached APL Doppler Beacon payloads or NAVPAC payloads, which were Transit related, with a separating payload, or
(2) a typo in a designation, confusing e.g. STP P73-3 (Timation 3) with STP S73-5 (S3-1)
or
(3) P226 is Navy, but not a navigation sat per se.
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Offline Skyrocket

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Re: Satellite signals intelligence in the 1970s-1990s
« Reply #43 on: 09/04/2023 12:43 am »
Do we know which mission the "Navy navigation satellite" flew on?
We can rule out:
* The P-11 series SIGINT sats (MABELI, URSULA, TOPHAT, RAQUEL, FARRAH)
* IRCB (an STP Infra red calibration balloon)
* the three S3 satellites (STP experimental satellites with known payloads)
* Pearl Ruby (a DARPA payload, likely an IR experiment)
Then also we have seven mysterious P-801 satellites, which are most probably not SIGINT (as I had posted earlier), but as there were seven, these do not fit the "one Navy navigation satellite" description

This leaves only the even more mysterious P-226 on the Hexagon 1210 mission.



In my opinion a classified Navy nav sat is really unlikely.  Although aspects of the operational Transits were mildly classified
at one point, data on both the Transit and Timation programs are now fully available. I suspect  the statement is an error,
either
(1) confusing one of the attached APL Doppler Beacon payloads or NAVPAC payloads, which were Transit related, with a separating payload, or
(2) a typo in a designation, confusing e.g. STP P73-3 (Timation 3) with STP S73-5 (S3-1)
or
(3) P226 is Navy, but not a navigation sat per se.

This is indeed more likely than my interpretation based on the premise that there was indeed a free flying "Navy navigation satellite".

Offline Targeteer

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Re: Satellite signals intelligence in the 1970s-1990s
« Reply #44 on: 09/10/2023 05:12 pm »
Given the large number of satellites discussed, I think posting here makes sense

https://sattrackcam.blogspot.com/2023/09/recovering-usa-310-pan-and-trumpet-2.html

Sunday, 10 September 2023
Recovering USA 310, PAN and Trumpet 2
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Offline Targeteer

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Re: Satellite signals intelligence in the 1970s-1990s
« Reply #45 on: 09/25/2023 08:26 pm »
Best quote heard during an inspection, "I was unaware that I was the only one who was aware."

Offline Blackstar

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Re: Satellite signals intelligence in the 1970s-1990s
« Reply #46 on: 09/25/2023 09:18 pm »
NRO is teasing something, again 

I have learned to temper my excitement. These things seem to be recruiting/image videos. It's "we do cool stuff." But that doesn't mean that they're going to talk about their cool stuff, unfortunately.

Lockheed Martin has been teasing something about an aircraft. Like maybe they have a top secret aircraft that they are maybe going to debut. Maybe. It has the aviation buffs all sitting on the edge of their seat. But they could be doing that kind of stuff for years. And then maybe nothing happens. Maybe.

Offline hoku

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Re: Satellite signals intelligence in the 1970s-1990s
« Reply #47 on: 09/25/2023 10:07 pm »
For reference, the national archives link to Vol 9 (and 8 ) of the "US Cry-pt History", which covers "The Foreign Missile and Space Technology Collection Story: Part Two: the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s" (Vol 8 covers 1950s and 1960s):
https://www.archives.gov/declassification/iscap/pdf/2012-001

Lots of redactions, but also some (partial) overview on the evolution of collection methods from ground and space, and the redirection of collection efforts during that period.
« Last Edit: 09/25/2023 10:08 pm by hoku »

Offline LittleBird

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Re: Satellite signals intelligence in the 1970s-1990s
« Reply #48 on: 09/26/2023 06:13 am »
For reference, the national archives link to Vol 9 (and 8 ) of the "US Cry-pt History", which covers "The Foreign Missile and Space Technology Collection Story: Part Two: the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s" (Vol 8 covers 1950s and 1960s):
https://www.archives.gov/declassification/iscap/pdf/2012-001

Lots of redactions, but also some (partial) overview on the evolution of collection methods from ground and space, and the redirection of collection efforts during that period.

Thanks. I'd forgotten, if I ever knew, that SIVET was Tevis spelled backwards ... and that PUNDIT did indeed encrypt its take (not all P-11s did, iirc v few did).
« Last Edit: 09/26/2023 03:24 pm by LittleBird »

Offline LittleBird

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Re: Satellite signals intelligence in the 1970s-1990s
« Reply #49 on: 09/26/2023 03:28 pm »
For reference, the national archives link to Vol 9 (and 8 ) of the "US Cry-pt History", which covers "The Foreign Missile and Space Technology Collection Story: Part Two: the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s" (Vol 8 covers 1950s and 1960s):
https://www.archives.gov/declassification/iscap/pdf/2012-001

Lots of redactions, but also some (partial) overview on the evolution of collection methods from ground and space, and the redirection of collection efforts during that period.

Another interesting thing here is a ref listed at end of the final volume, pity the comments on it are redacted. I know Aid's later book The Secret Sentry but hadn't heard of this one. [Edit: I see first 40 pages or so are on Google books, see Christopher Andrew grab below]
« Last Edit: 09/26/2023 03:39 pm by LittleBird »

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« Last Edit: 09/28/2023 03:17 pm by Galactic Penguin SST »
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Offline Blackstar

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Re: Satellite signals intelligence in the 1970s-1990s
« Reply #51 on: 09/28/2023 03:49 pm »
Darn, they had to do this on the one day that I get really busy...

Offline Blackstar

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Re: Satellite signals intelligence in the 1970s-1990s
« Reply #52 on: 09/28/2023 05:19 pm »
A few observations:

-if NRO is going to declassify anything, they will probably do it in September. Have to get it done before the end of the fiscal year?

-they tie declassification actions to anniversaries.

-no documents in this release. However, we can probably expect them to release documents because they have in the past.

-no photographs of the actual satellites, only artwork and a model. That leads me to believe that they prepared this specifically for the announcement, and built a model to show it off, but the rest of the declassification of photos, etc., is lagging behind.

---that model shows an early version of the satellite. The ones launched in the 1990s were apparently shaped like tuna cans. Also, they incorporated the P-989 missions as well, so the targets were not just naval vessels.

-previously, the rule of thumb seemed to be that they waited 25 years after the end of a program before they declassified it. This one is only 15 years.

-no mention of transmitting data directly to ships at sea, but I suspect that this capability was added at some point.

-the satellites launched in the 1990s were originally scheduled for the shuttle.
« Last Edit: 09/28/2023 06:26 pm by Blackstar »

Offline Skyrocket

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Re: Satellite signals intelligence in the 1970s-1990s
« Reply #53 on: 09/28/2023 05:48 pm »
Not much in the fact sheet.

A few points which can be inferred from the information given:

* The mission numbers (7108 to 7120) are a continuing sequence from Poppy and encompass both the Atlas and Titan launched triplets
* The Titan launched triplets are "improved Parcae" and include a COMINT capability
* Parcae was operated until 2008

Offline LittleBird

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Re: Satellite signals intelligence in the 1970s-1990s
« Reply #54 on: 09/28/2023 06:27 pm »
Not much in the fact sheet.

A few points which can be inferred from the information given:

* The mission numbers (7108 to 7120) are a continuing sequence from Poppy and encompass both the Atlas and Titan launched triplets
* The Titan launched triplets are "improved Parcae" and include a COMINT capability
* Parcae was operated until 2008

One reason why the addition of COMINT at this block change is intriguing is because  the P-11s *weren't* merged with PARCAE in the late 80s. So presumably the last fewTitan II  P-11 FARRAH missions in 88, 89 and 92 weren't COMINT, just order of battle etc, which I guess confirms what we knew. [Edit: after all, afaik the only P-11 related to COMINT was ARROYO in early 70s, and that was mapping of emitters in support of CANYON, rather than collection ?]

Anyway it also helps to confirm explain why the iterations after the Improved PARCAE *have* apparently unified all the LEO SIGINT roles, as per Richelson's The US Intelligence Community 2012 edition, in second grab below: https://archive.org/details/usintelligenceco0000rich_p1o9/page/208/mode/2up?q=parcae&view=theater



« Last Edit: 09/29/2023 07:53 am by LittleBird »

Offline LittleBird

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Re: Satellite signals intelligence in the 1970s-1990s
« Reply #55 on: 09/28/2023 07:20 pm »
A few observations:

-if NRO is going to declassify anything, they will probably do it in September. Have to get it done before the end of the fiscal year?

-they tie declassification actions to anniversaries.



I see nothing here yet:

 https://www.nrl.navy.mil/About-Us/History/NRL-Centennial/

I wonder if NRL will be adding anything on their pages and/or doing any events ?

Offline Targeteer

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Re: Satellite signals intelligence in the 1970s-1990s
« Reply #56 on: 09/28/2023 08:58 pm »
Darn, they had to do this on the one day that I get really busy...

I guess this tease was a little more significant than some others :)
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Offline zubenelgenubi

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Re: Satellite signals intelligence in the 1970s-1990s
« Reply #57 on: 09/28/2023 09:16 pm »
Is PARCAE pronounced "par-kee" or "par-see" or some other way?
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Offline Targeteer

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Re: Satellite signals intelligence in the 1970s-1990s
« Reply #58 on: 09/28/2023 09:18 pm »
par-say, oh so I've heard :)
Best quote heard during an inspection, "I was unaware that I was the only one who was aware."

Offline Skyrocket

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Re: Satellite signals intelligence in the 1970s-1990s
« Reply #59 on: 09/28/2023 10:40 pm »
Is PARCAE pronounced "par-kee" or "par-see" or some other way?

Apparently both.

According to Merriam-Webster, both is possible

ˈpär-kī  or ˈpär-sē

https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/Parcae
« Last Edit: 09/28/2023 10:41 pm by Skyrocket »

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