US launches 'anti-terror' satellitegreenspun.com : LUSENET : Grassroots Information Coordination Center (GICC) : One Thread
Saturday, 6 October, 2001, 08:31 GMT 09:31 UK US launches 'anti-terror' satellite
The United States has launched a satellite which intelligence analysts say will probably be used to gather information in the global campaign against terrorism. The Titan IV rocket was launched from Vandenberg airforce base in California on behalf of the US National Reconnaissance Office, a secretive agency specialising in providing information for the CIA and the National Security Agency.
The rocket is believed to have been carrying a top secret KH-11 spy satellite - that could monitor Afghanistan ahead of an expected military strike.
The US Air Force refused to comment on the payload, but the NRO builds and operates America's spy satellites and specialises in gathering pictures and electronic data, such as telephone conversations on the ground.
Experts from Aviation Week and Space Technology Magazine said the satellite was likely to be equipped with a digital camera able to pick out objects as small as 10 cm (4 inches) across on the ground.
Orbiting hundreds of miles above the earth the 15 tonne KH-11 is capable of tracking small groups of people walking on the ground as well as vehicle and weapons movements.
It can monitor conversations and even spot campfires at night using infrared technology.
Identifying the enemy
According to Aviation Magazine such information could be used to monitor the movements of Taleban groups and refugees to help allied forces separate potentially hostile groups from "non-combatants".
The United States is believed to have spy satellites over Afghanistan already as US forces continue to build up nearby ahead of expected military strikes.
Before 1996 the NRO did not publicly disclose the launches of its satellites.
-- Martin Thompson (email@example.com), October 06, 2001
Of course this fancy "terrorist" satellite will _never_ get used to harrass honest folk like you or me. You can tell by the name. And besides, "intelligence analysts" say so, and they've never lied to us before....
-- neil r (firstname.lastname@example.org), October 08, 2001.