Subject:      Disappearing/missing spysats in the news
From:         [email protected] (Allen Thomson)
Date:         1996/11/08
Message-Id:   <[email protected]>

   The threads on SSP and APOC concerning missing and/or high-
flying spysats seem to have engendered some activity in the 
mainstream media: 


   Stargazers ponder ``missing'' U.S. spy satellites
   LONDON 6 NOV 1996 
      Four U.S. spy satellites ``missing'' since  1990 may have 
   been moved into secret orbits so they could carry on their 
   covert duties without being tracked, the New Scientist 
   magazine [*] reported... 
       Ted Molczan, a satellite spotter in Toronto monitored 
   three of the satellites from the time of their launch from 
   Vandenberg Air Force Base in California in 1990 and noticed they 
   all disappeared after several weeks in their initial orbits....
       John Pike, a space analyst with the Washington-based  
   Federation of American Scientists noted that one of the 
   satellites disappeared just before the Gulf War.  If the 
   satellite had died, the failure would have produced  howls of 
   protest from members of Congress who monitor U.S. intelligence 
   gathering - something that did not happen, he said. 
       A more intriguing possibility is that the satellites were  
   placed into orbits which would move more slowly across the skies 
   than other [spysats], giving them more time to photograph 
   targets. Supporters of this theory point to the timing of the U.S.  
   air strikes in Iraq in September.  Military strikes are usually 
   mounted immediately before a spy satellite passes overhead...
      But after the latest strikes..., no known spy satellites 
   would have passed over the target area for between two and six 
   hours. This suggests that one or more of the missing satellites 
   may have been watching, satellite watchers said. 


   Interesting how news gets around in the Wired World, no?

*  A reliable if idiosyncratic informant has, ah, informed me 
that the New Scientist article may be found at