Satellite Tracking Data Made Secret
Here's another example of harmful government secrecy, ostensibly implemented as security against terrorism.
How an adversary might damage a spacecraft more than 100 miles up and moving at five miles per second -- eight times faster than a rifle bullet -- was not specified.
Good question, though.
But unclassified military or civilian communications satellites could, in theory, be jammed. And an adversary could use the unclassified data to know when a commercial imaging satellite, possibly operating under contract to the Department of Defense, would be flying overhead.
It might even be possible, through the process of elimination, for knowledgeable amateurs to ferret out the orbit of a classified spacecraft by comparing actual observations with the list of known, unclassified satellites.
Clearly I need to write a longer essay on "movie-plot" threats, and the wisdom of spending money and effort defending against them.
Posted on March 12, 2005 at 10:31 AM • 18 Comments