KH-11 KENNEN

Flyaway

ACCESS: Above Top Secret
Senior Member
Joined
Jan 21, 2015
Messages
7,287
Reaction score
6,534
Gen. John “Jay” Raymond, commander of the newly minted U.S. Space Force, says the Russian spacecraft began maneuvering toward the American satellite shortly after being launched into orbit in November, at times creeping within 100 miles of it. “We view this behavior as unusual and disturbing,” Raymond says. “It has the potential to create a dangerous situation in space.” Raymond says the U.S. government has expressed concern to Moscow through diplomatic channels.

 

dan_inbox

ACCESS: Top Secret
Senior Member
Joined
Sep 3, 2006
Messages
1,024
Reaction score
624
How on Earth does this qualify as an Unbuilt Project?
Or are posters just flouting the rules until the mods find time to step in?
Is it too difficult to use the section General/Aviation and Space ?
 

Josh_TN

ACCESS: Top Secret
Joined
Sep 4, 2019
Messages
1,303
Reaction score
911
13 years since they killed Misty follow-ons. Wonder what the AoA looks like now.

I always felt Zuma was probably a follow on, and that the perculiaties of its launch/failure were cover to insert it in an unexpected orbit. I've nothing to back that up other than the fact I believe MISTY was launched and also public considered to be lost; the whole contractor payload adaptor thing seems tailor made to cover up a successful launch while not laying the public blame for declared failure at the feet of SpaceX.
 

Flyaway

ACCESS: Above Top Secret
Senior Member
Joined
Jan 21, 2015
Messages
7,287
Reaction score
6,534
I posted the above article here as again there’s rumours of declassification of the early years of the so called KH-11. The problem of course is some fundamentals about the program likely haven’t changed so do you end up declassifying parts of the modern program as a result. I’d argue that there’s probably a lot changed in those decades even in the mirror technology and especially what goes behind it like the avionics as to how relevant would the early production blocks of the KH-11 be these days with others producing not dissimilar satellites now.
 

Byeman

ACCESS: Top Secret
Joined
Jan 8, 2010
Messages
926
Reaction score
101
I posted the above article here as again there’s rumours of declassification of the early years of the so called KH-11. The problem of course is some fundamentals about the program likely haven’t changed so do you end up declassifying parts of the modern program as a result. I’d argue that there’s probably a lot changed in those decades even in the mirror technology and especially what goes behind it like the avionics as to how relevant would the early production blocks of the KH-11 be these days with others producing not dissimilar satellites now.
Doesn't matter, a schematic and architecture of the first one compared to a current one are basically the same. The imaging electronics (CCD vs CMOS or whatever doesn't change the spacecraft. "Mirror technology"? It's mirror. How they're made doesn't matter. Thrusters, comm system, solar arrays, etc., the spacecraft is going to look the same.
 

Josh_TN

ACCESS: Top Secret
Joined
Sep 4, 2019
Messages
1,303
Reaction score
911
The mirror/aperture situation is generally going to drive the spacecraft dimensions. I expect that current EO/IR satellites look very much like the Hubble just like their predecessors.
 

Flyaway

ACCESS: Above Top Secret
Senior Member
Joined
Jan 21, 2015
Messages
7,287
Reaction score
6,534
Flattops from space: the once (and future?) meme of photographing aircraft carriers from orbit
by Dwayne A. Day
Monday, July 19, 2021

In 1984, Samuel Loring Morison, an analyst at the Naval Intelligence Support Center outside of Washington, DC, picked three photos off the desk of a colleague. He clipped the security classification stamps off the sides of the photos and provided them to Jane’s Defence Weekly, which had only recently begun publishing. The photos were taken by a satellite of a Soviet Union military shipyard. Knowing that they had a real scoop, the editors at Jane’s put one of the photos on the cover of the magazine and featured the other two in a short article about the latest Soviet naval developments.

The photos were taken by a KH-11 KENNEN reconnaissance satellite, which was then highly secret. They showed a Soviet aircraft carrier (technically, an aircraft-carrying heavy cruiser) and an amphibious warfare ship under construction. They were by far the most detailed reconnaissance photos that had ever been published up to that time, and instantly attracted attention worldwide, resulting in substantial publicity for Jane’s. The article inaccurately reported that the aircraft carrier under construction was to be nuclear powered, but the story was still incredibly important for establishing the magazine’s reputation for inside information.

There was really no way for Morison to cover his tracks considering that he had a part-time job with Jane’s in addition to his day job as a naval analyst, and it did not take long for investigators to trace the photos back to him. Morison was arrested, convicted, and sent to prison for two years. He died on January 14, 2018, aged 73.

Because the photos Morison provided to the media were so famous, they became somewhat of an inside joke among people interested in intelligence collection—spawning, for lack of a better definition, an intelligence meme. In late 1996, somebody leaked a satellite photograph of another Soviet-era aircraft carrier to a journalist, this one working for the conservative-leaning newspaper The Washington Times. For years, Times journalist Bill Gertz had been publishing classified information—including satellite photos—that somebody in the government was leaking to him. Usually the leaks concerned China—which Gertz considered to be a rising menace—although Russia was another topic that Gertz occasionally wrote about based on classified information. Journalists covering the national security beat in Washington were envious of Gertz’s source (or sources) and speculated that the government was trying hard to find the leaker. The Times published the photo on January 1, 1997. The story, “Ukraine won’t finish Russian flattop,” was barely newsworthy except for the fact that it was based on a leaked, classified CIA report and featured a secret satellite photo of a Soviet-era aircraft carrier. Whoever leaked it almost certainly did so with knowledge of the Morison case and printing the photo on the first day of the new year was clearly a taunt, saying “catch me if you can.”

 

blackstar

ACCESS: Top Secret
Senior Member
Joined
Sep 26, 2008
Messages
1,892
Reaction score
437
They mention that they're producing a book for their 60th anniversary that is going to be about 60 NRO innovations and 60 NRO innovators. My guess is that you could probably assemble your own list of about 40 each of these things and have high confidence of being right. Just look at several of the official program histories that have lists of "firsts" for those programs and that would give you a good starting point (like first spacecraft recovered from orbit). One person mentions that CCDs will be in there, but the question is how much will NRO reveal about classified support of CCD technology development? There is the official, public story about the development of the CCD, but was there also classified technology support in the early years that we don't know about? (The answer is yes, but how much will they discuss that?)
 

blackstar

ACCESS: Top Secret
Senior Member
Joined
Sep 26, 2008
Messages
1,892
Reaction score
437
During the podcast they don't indicate that any major program declassifications are coming. Now I would not necessarily expect that from a podcast like this--that's the kind of announcement that you really expect to hear from the NRO Director in a speech or an interview with a trade publication. But the overall gist of the podcast is that the 60th anniversary is mostly going to be focused on the current NRO employees, as opposed to former/retired NRO employees, and there won't be any big revelations. Any new revelations will probably be in that book. So they might reveal a technology, but not necessarily a spacecraft or program.
 

Flyaway

ACCESS: Above Top Secret
Senior Member
Joined
Jan 21, 2015
Messages
7,287
Reaction score
6,534
Or they could link the KH-11 to the CCD. After all is it not the case that we don’t have the full story on the development of the CCD because of the classification of the KH-11?
 

greenmartian2017

The Shadow knows what lurks in the hearts of men
Joined
May 13, 2008
Messages
139
Reaction score
84
Thanks a bunch, Flyaway for posting the URL links. These are very useful to me.
 

Flyaway

ACCESS: Above Top Secret
Senior Member
Joined
Jan 21, 2015
Messages
7,287
Reaction score
6,534



Intelligence Agencies Pushed to Use More Commercial Satellites

By Julian E. Barnes
Sept. 27, 2021

WASHINGTON — A cluster of satellites operated by an American company called HawkEye 360 looked down on the Middle East early this year and discovered radar and radio waves associated with a Chinese-based fishing fleet off the coast of Oman.

When the company matched the data up with information from NASA satellites that track light sources on the Earth’s surface, it discovered the vessels were using powerful lights — a telltale sign of squid hunting — as they surreptitiously sailed into Oman’s fishing waters with their tracking transponders turned off.

The surveillance was something of a technological test — in this case the company did not notify either Oman or China. But the work, company officials said, demonstrated the kinds of intelligence that can be gleaned from their satellites, which have also detected military activity on the border between China and India, tracked poachers in Africa for wildlife groups and followed the satellite phones used by smugglers working refugee routes.

With Congress pushing the Biden administration to make more use of commercial satellites, intelligence officials are starting to award new contracts to show they can augment the capabilities of highly classified spy satellites with the increasingly sophisticated services available from the private sector.

On Monday, the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency announced that it had awarded a $10 million contract to HawkEye 360 to track and map radio frequency emissions around the world, information the company says will help identify weapons trafficking, foreign military activity and drug smuggling.

The contract follows a study contract awarded to the company by the National Reconnaissance Office in 2019.

David Gauthier, the director of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency’s commercial group, said collecting radio frequency data would help “tip and cue” imagery satellites, in essence telling officials where to look. The commercial data is also unclassified, allowing intelligence agencies to more easily share the data with allies and partners.

The expansion of commercial satellites with greater abilities to peer down at Earth worries some civil liberties experts. The ever-growing number of commercial satellites has eroded privacy, said Steven Aftergood, of the Project on Government Secrecy at the Federation of American Scientists.

But the government contracts with commercial satellite companies themselves have not yet drawn much criticism, Mr. Aftergood said, because government satellites are far more powerful, at least for now, than commercial satellites.

The exact capabilities of the government’s satellites are closely guarded secrets. However, during the previous administration, President Donald J. Trump posted on Twitter a picture of an Iranian launch site taken by a classified American satellite that had been included in his intelligence brief. The picture was far more detailed than commercial satellite pictures of the same site.

In some quarters of the intelligence agencies, those lagging commercial capabilities have dampened enthusiasm for pushing forward with more private-sector contracts. But Congress is pushing the intelligence agencies to move faster.
 

Josh_TN

ACCESS: Top Secret
Joined
Sep 4, 2019
Messages
1,303
Reaction score
911
KH-11 has changed significantly over the years. Originally was launched by a Titan 3D with 10 foot payload fairing, currently Delta IV with 16 foot fairing.

I suspect the current version has nothing remotely in common with the first generation outside general layout, orbit, and purpose. Kinda like AIM-9X.
 

Byeman

ACCESS: Top Secret
Joined
Jan 8, 2010
Messages
926
Reaction score
101
KH-11 has changed significantly over the years. Originally was launched by a Titan 3D with 10 foot payload fairing, currently Delta IV with 16 foot fairing.

Does Delta IV have a 10-foot fairing?
The fairing progression is:
Titan IIID - 10 foot
Titan 34D - 10.5'
Titan IV - 16.7'
Delta IV Heavy - 16.7'

The 16.7' comes from having to contain a 15 foot diameter payload with rattle space
 

blackstar

ACCESS: Top Secret
Senior Member
Joined
Sep 26, 2008
Messages
1,892
Reaction score
437
KH-11 has changed significantly over the years. Originally was launched by a Titan 3D with 10 foot payload fairing, currently Delta IV with 16 foot fairing.

Does Delta IV have a 10-foot fairing?
The fairing progression is:
Titan IIID - 10 foot
Titan 34D - 10.5'
Titan IV - 16.7'
Delta IV Heavy - 16.7'

The 16.7' comes from having to contain a 15 foot diameter payload with rattle space

But is there only a single fairing size available? In other words, smaller payloads could fly with a larger fairing than necessary.

I know this is an issue that has come up for NASA. I believe that the NASA launch services program has tried to standardize the fairing size to reduce cost and complexity, meaning that sometimes a small payload still gets a big fairing.
 

Byeman

ACCESS: Top Secret
Joined
Jan 8, 2010
Messages
926
Reaction score
101
KH-11 has changed significantly over the years. Originally was launched by a Titan 3D with 10 foot payload fairing, currently Delta IV with 16 foot fairing.

Does Delta IV have a 10-foot fairing?
The fairing progression is:
Titan IIID - 10 foot
Titan 34D - 10.5'
Titan IV - 16.7'
Delta IV Heavy - 16.7'

The 16.7' comes from having to contain a 15 foot diameter payload with rattle space

But is there only a single fairing size available? In other words, smaller payloads could fly with a larger fairing than necessary.

I know this is an issue that has come up for NASA. I believe that the NASA launch services program has tried to standardize the fairing size to reduce cost and complexity, meaning that sometimes a small payload still gets a big fairing.
There was a 4m fairing for Delta IV but NASA never flew it (except 3 for GOES but Boeing bought the launch service). NASA only flew one Delta IV (PSP).

Atlas V has a 4 and 5m but both are used by NASA.

Right now, SpaceX has only the one 5m fairing.
 

blackstar

ACCESS: Top Secret
Senior Member
Joined
Sep 26, 2008
Messages
1,892
Reaction score
437

Right now, SpaceX has only the one 5m fairing.


Okay, so to go back to Brummer's earlier post, I think the one thing we can conclude now is that fairing size does not indicate spacecraft size.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

Byeman

ACCESS: Top Secret
Joined
Jan 8, 2010
Messages
926
Reaction score
101


Okay, so to go back to Brummer's earlier post, I think the one thing we can conclude now is that fairing size does not indicate spacecraft size.
But most of the Titan IV spacecraft were former shuttle payloads. And most of the Delta IV Heavy spacecraft were former Titan IV payloads. Vick's "shroudology" drawings showed most of the TIV payloads using the available diameter.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

Similar threads

Top