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SpaceX to launch secret Northrop spacecraft

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posted on Jan, 9 2018 @ 10:56 AM
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a reply to: The one?

Not satellite based. Some pretty impressive aircraft based systems, but not on a satellite.




posted on Jan, 9 2018 @ 12:15 PM
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a reply to: Zaphod58


thats actually a really genius move on their part, especially considering the size and capabilities of some satellites.

Thinking of the possibilities associated with Zuma, rather than be one large satellite that was launched, could it have been a microsat bus that placed a bunch of them in orbit in order to have persistent view (various sensor systems come to mind) over a nation or area that is of serious concern.

The "Bus" is considered the relay back to a ground station, with the micro sat's increasing the overall area that is being viewed.

NRO based satellites needed large primary array's to effectively capture signals, which have to expand and fit within the launch faring, where as using micro satellites in a orbital pattern around a central "Bus" could allow for a larger viewable area.



posted on Jan, 9 2018 @ 01:25 PM
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a reply to: Zaphod58

Didn't they pull the exact same business with Misty in the early 90s?



posted on Jan, 9 2018 @ 02:09 PM
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a reply to: Barnalby

With more than one launch around then. There have been several that "failed to separate" that were later seen in orbit.



posted on Jan, 9 2018 @ 02:55 PM
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a reply to: Zaphod58

As you said, it's a great way to hide the main payload from the spotters while it maneuvers to it's REAL orbit, especially if it throws off some "debris" in the process. I myself was hoping to see what this thing's orbit details were, as they would all but spell out what it actually was. Maybe Northrop didn't want people like us to know those sorts of things.

It's a fascinating she'll game, no matter what, and I could very well see them pulling the "it didn't separate from the upper stage" excuse to get everyone tracking that while a piece of "debris" just happens to drift away from the upper stage in the things actual, planned orbit.



posted on Jan, 9 2018 @ 03:23 PM
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a reply to: Zaphod58

www.parabolicarc.com...

spacenews.com...

SpaceX said if something went wrong, it wasn't on their end. NorthGrum supposedly made the adaptor and THAT might have malfunctioned. Interestingly, NORAD gave Zuma a designation. They don't do that unless it made it to and stayed in orbit. The F9 2nd stage came back in after an orbit and a half which is normal. If Zuma was still attached, then it didn't stay in orbit.

Rumors are that Zuma was a $ Billion program.

If it is dead and NG made the adaptor, they might get GE-style smacked for it in space hardware.
edit on 9-1-2018 by anzha because: more info



posted on Jan, 9 2018 @ 03:51 PM
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a reply to: anzha

Yeah there's a lot that doesn't make sense about a lost sat here.



posted on Jan, 9 2018 @ 04:00 PM
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a reply to: Zaphod58

I suspect we're getting some distortion as far as the info goes. I don't only mean they are misleading, but also there's a lot of fall of mirrors effect or echoes in a dark chamber: people are playing telephone and those willing to leak are not the techies here. Hence, bad info.

As some of noted, if SpaceX doesn't take a pause in its cadence, then they were fine. If they do, then the rocket was responsible. As of now, all sources are stating they are not taking a pause.



posted on Jan, 9 2018 @ 04:24 PM
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a reply to: anzha

after doing some relatively through searching I found an interesting reasoning behind these launch "failures", just as with Misty Satellites. It is located within the link below

fas.org...

The really interesting stuff seems to be spread out, however on page 105 it goes into some detail in regards to direct orbit changes, and hiding those and the satellites location with "explosions" and other various visual trickery in order to inflate its visible, thermal, radar cloak.

there is plenty of information out there to develop a methodology of what is being done here... as its been done before, albeit not quite in the same manner



posted on Jan, 9 2018 @ 04:25 PM
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originally posted by: anzha
a reply to: Zaphod58

The F9 2nd stage came back in after an orbit and a half which is normal. If Zuma was still attached, then it didn't stay in orbit.

Hm thats interesting. If Zuma was still attached when Falcon 9 deorbited i think the mass of the payload should screw up the reentry angle making it (much) steeper. It would come down sooner, possibly even outside the chosen crash zone.
If SpaxeX i saying that all went well from start to reentry on their end, it should mean that Zuma separated from the upper stage.



posted on Jan, 9 2018 @ 09:17 PM
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You dont think the X-38 just floats up there doing science projects for two years...
Do Satellite manufactures pay money for roadside service?



posted on Jan, 9 2018 @ 09:50 PM
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a reply to: Blackfinger

You joke, but...

www.darpa.mil...



posted on Jan, 10 2018 @ 11:59 AM
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originally posted by: BoutThere
a reply to: anzha

after doing some relatively through searching I found an interesting reasoning behind these launch "failures", just as with Misty Satellites. It is located within the link below

fas.org...

The really interesting stuff seems to be spread out, however on page 105 it goes into some detail in regards to direct orbit changes, and hiding those and the satellites location with "explosions" and other various visual trickery in order to inflate its visible, thermal, radar cloak.

there is plenty of information out there to develop a methodology of what is being done here... as its been done before, albeit not quite in the same manner


This is really interesting stuff. Read the WaPo article on page 121, which gives a lot of detail about the cost of Misty. It seems pretty clear that the US has spent a lot of money on stealth satellites since at least the 90s. Based on all of the information about Misty, it wouldn't be a stretch to assume that Zuma could potentially be a next generation of stealth sats. Lockheed Martin was the prime for Misty, NG is now. The timelines make sense, if they didn't start development on a new program until the mid 2000s, it could take a decade to build and launch something of this nature.

Here's what we know:

* There are three possible outcomes that have been speculated. 1) Dead in orbit. 2) fell back to earth, splashed into Indian ocean. 3) Failure is a deception campaign to hide a [potentially stealth] satellite. Not sure what other possibilities there are that wouldn't have been noticed immediately (e.g. explosion of some sort)
* If it's dead in orbit like some reports have claimed and it's not a stealth satellite, amateur trackers should have or will find it. Also, since it came out so fast that the satellite was a total loss (allegedly), dead in orbit seems unlikely or they would probably be trying to regain contact/control for some time.
* It could be both dead in orbit AND a stealth satellite, in which case trackers might not be able to find it. But same things apply as above
* If it fell back to Earth on the upper stage and is resting on the bottom of the Indian ocean still attached to the upper stage as other reports have claimed, the U.S. military will be looking for it in the ocean so someone else can't get their hands on it. So, we would expect to see some sort of military activity in the Indian ocean that I'm not sure they could hide, even if they didn't admit what it was for.

Other things that are strange:

* SpaceX continues on as if nothing was wrong with the exception of a vaguely worded statement that implied it wasn't their fault. That seems fishy considering a potentially billion dollar satellite was lost on one of their launches, even if they are confident it wasn't their fault. If something did go wrong, even if on the surface it was obviously not their fault, it would take some time for them to be able to say with 100% certainty that it wasn't something they could have done differently to prevent. Eventually, they would be vindicated one way or another.
* News came out REALLY fast that this satellite was a total loss even though there is absolutely no evidence of it being a total loss aside from inconsistent leaked reports from unnamed sources.
* A billion dollars is expensive, even for a satellite. Was this the cost of the program or of the satellite? This is in the ballpark of the price tag for the newest ECS satellites, which are huge and incredibly complex imaging sats. Falcon 9 is not launching school-bus sized satellites into orbit. While this is incredibly circumstantial, the veil of secrecy around this program surpasses that of 'normal' spy satellites.
* If the gov't is still testing the waters with SpaceX to launch sensitive missions, why would the gov't go straight to the most sensitive mission they have unless SpaceX had some sort of unique capability that enabled them to accomplish some requirement? One possible explanation is timing of the launch, and making it 'disappear', even for a short while, provides some critical tactical advantage that will give the US an opportunity to answer some questions before doing something, like start a war (*cough* North Korea). Thinking U-2's and SR-71s during the cold war.

This may be all tin-foil hat stuff that I'm manifesting, and occams razor probably applies here, but there are so many strange things here.



posted on Jan, 10 2018 @ 12:50 PM
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a reply to: igetbuckets

Thats the art of deception, we really have no idea what may have actually happened, but based on past launches of similar satellites (obviously only 2 really come to mind that were reported to have been lost, with other countries even "confirming" through visual/radar or other observations (none of which being burned up within the atmosphere).

One of the documents also manages to explain the relatively high altitude and orbit characteristics of the previous "Misty" launches, which was partially identified and tracked for a brief period of time after launch before disappearing altogether and not being found again.

This new "Misty" would most likely be a highly miniaturized version of the previous satellites, and considering the orbital location, could be even easier to make "disappear", while still using a similar method of hiding in plain sight.



posted on Jan, 10 2018 @ 01:12 PM
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Is every satellite, clandestine or not, trackable?

There's every chance all this is just more cloak n dagger to keep us guessing. A very secret payload ..... so secret the third stage of the launch won't be shown, so people will speculate all sorts of scenarios.

Chances are it's working just fine ..... in complete secret ..... just how they wanted it.
edit on 10/1/2018 by Catch_a_Fire because: (no reason given)



posted on Jan, 10 2018 @ 01:18 PM
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a reply to: Catch_a_Fire

If you can find it it, figuring out its orbit is relatively easy. And that gives you an idea of what its mission is.



posted on Jan, 10 2018 @ 01:30 PM
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originally posted by: Zaphod58
a reply to: Catch_a_Fire

If you can find it it, figuring out its orbit is relatively easy. And that gives you an idea of what its mission is.


Thanks zaph, I didn't realise the sats orbit determined the mission type.... I imagined these secret sats to be placed where and whenever they are needed .... once in orbit.

I should read up a lot more than I do.



posted on Jan, 10 2018 @ 01:39 PM
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a reply to: Catch_a_Fire

You won't be able to tell the exact mission, but communications satellites can be found in higher orbits, where the uplink doesn't have to constantly move. Imaging satellites tend to be in orbits that pass over the same points fairly regularly. There are exceptions of course, but that's usually the general rule of thumb.
edit on 1/10/2018 by Zaphod58 because: (no reason given)



posted on Jan, 10 2018 @ 02:06 PM
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originally posted by: Zaphod58
a reply to: Catch_a_Fire

You won't be able to tell the exact mission, but communications satellites can be found in higher orbits, where the uplink doesn't have to constantly move. Imaging satellites tend to be in orbits that pass over the same points fairly regularly. There are exceptions of course, but that's usually the general rule of thumb.


To add to that imaging sats have to be in lower orbits where the optics are more effective. ELINT/comm satellites are in higher orbits where they can persist over a much larger area for a much longer period of time, and proximity to earth doesn't matter as much.



posted on Jan, 10 2018 @ 03:44 PM
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a reply to: igetbuckets

well one thing is for certain, the satellite is somewhere within the lower geosynchronous orbital region, a good boundary layer between low earth orbit and high earth orbit.

Most likely just outside the orbits of most GPS satellites. Not only would this aid in blending in (in terms of overall orbital debris), but then it also allows for orbital insertion burns to move closer and further away dependent on the conditions of whatever method of observation they are using.

This satellite is probably a mixed bag of Elint/Sigint, with some secondary super hi-resolution imaging system for when at the lower orbital region.

Keeping the satellite moving in different orbital patterns, with its blend of sensor and visible camouflage, in addition to its orbital altitude will allow it to hide indefinitely (assuming no issues arise that would give it away).
edit on 10-1-2018 by BoutThere because: +added




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