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comment by am_Unition

For anyone maybe wondering whether or not Russia already knows about this: They do. They surely knew it before this blogger worked it out.

kleinbl00, would there not be kill switches abundant/redundant to the power supplies or function of any whatever-wavelength transmitters or sigint encryption algorithm before USA 276 arrived? No problem for a passive receiver staring downwards, though, might be tough to find that. At least with optical, you could be fairly certain that no modifications were made to the physical structure in between launch and close approach of the ISS without someone getting wind of it. Y'know, IF you were looking for something with that method, which would be kinda weird, but here we are, huh?

Poor astronauts are probably all tasked with spying on the kosmonauts and vice-versa. And I mean directly tasked. Not "launch-a-spy-sat-from-a-totally-civilian-space-shuttle" and then go back to microgravity experiments.

kleinbl00  ·  404 days ago  ·  link  ·

Here's the questions: Does Fyodor know where to turn off the transmitter? Can he do it without the Americans knowing? Does he know about it? Can the Russians do it remotely? Can they do it remotely from an asset we don't have under ELINT? Do they have any assets we don't have under ELINT? Is there anything to turn off?

I think USA-276 is a spec mission by SpaceX to demonstrate to the NRO that they're a viable launch partner. I'll bet they bought a Boeing 702 and hung some antennas off of it. I'll bet this is a cheap-ass proof-of-concept sniffer to demonstrate that their Al's Auto Supply approach to launches extends to payloads and that they can build a cheaper mousetrap. And I'll bet they don't actually have to accomplish anything of probative value, they just need to fit within the envelope of sneaky spy stuff.

"What's that? Why did we buzz the ISS? Oh, we didn't - that's those pesky SpaceX guys, the orbit was delayed, it wasn't supposed to be that close... what's it doing up there? It's literally a can of beans because we wanted them to prove they could put pintos in orbit. It's totally not listening in on your communications. Which are public, right? Right. Right? Right. Kovfefe."

am_Unition  ·  404 days ago  ·  link  ·  

I dunno man, I would hope SpaceX has enough sense to avoid a contribution to fraying international relationships in lieu of a tech demo.

"...oh wait, you guys have got that many contracts coming down the pipe?? Of course a 5 km approach is doable."

kleinbl00  ·  404 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Fuckin' ISS is like 85% American, and 2/3rds of the current crew are American. Buzzin' Tiangong-1? That might have raised eyebrows.