Saturday, June 09, 2007

Secret American Satellites Found by the French

Space.com reports that the French have identified 20 to 30 previously unlisted objects in low Earth orbit believed to belong to the U.S. At issue is the U.S. practice of publishing sensitive data regarding other countries intelligence gathering satellites.

"The published U.S. information excludes sensitive U.S. defense satellites, but regularly publishes data on the orbits of other nations' military hardware....

"We have discussed the Graves results with our American colleagues and highlighted the discrepancies between what we have found and what is published by the U.S. Space Surveillance Network," said one French defense official responsible for the Graves operation. "They told us, 'If we have not published it in our catalogue, then it does not exist.' So I guess we have been tracking objects that do not exist. I can tell you that some of these non-existent objects have solar arrays."

Col. Yves Blin, deputy head of the space division at the French joint defense staff, said France would wait until it had acquired, with the help of the German radar, further information about the 20 to 30 secret satellites in question before beginning serious negotiations with the United States on a common approach for publishing satellite orbit information.

"Right now we do not have enough cards in our hand to begin negotiations," Blin said here at the Graves radar transmitter site June 7. "We need more time to be sure of what we are seeing. At that point we can tell our American friends, 'We have seen some things that you might wish to keep out of the public domain. We will agree to do this if you agree to stop publishing the location of our sensitive satellites."











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