back to article US will sky spy-sat to eye spy-sats

Announcements from the Pentagon have put a price and an initial schedule on a new American military satellite which will be used to keep track of other countries' spy satellites. According to a report in Aviation Daily & Defence Report, the new Space Based Surveillance System (SBSS) Block 10 spacecraft is slated for launch in …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    yes but...

    who will watch the watcher watchers.....

  2. deadturtle

    Spy Sat Twister

    How many spy sats can a spy sat snap if a spy sat could snap spy sats?

    Errr yeah, mines the one with the pickles on the sleeves.

  3. Michael
    Black Helicopters

    Woo, let's resurrect that Cold War vibe.

    Getting something into orbit isn't easy, there aren't many people who can do it and most of them are pretty good buddies with the US.

    Except the Russians and Chinese.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    Trojan horse?

    What's to stop someone putting a sat up in a polar orbit under the guise of something perfectly innocuous, such as for monitoring ice caps or whatever? In such an orbit it would cover the entire surface of the Earth every 12 hours at the most which should be frequently enough for most spooks. You can even put some real scientific instruments on the satellite alongside the espionage stuff in case anybody starts asking for the results you got from the satellite.

  5. ImaGnuber



  6. Matt Thornton
    Thumb Up

    @ deadturtle

    I just snorted chicken curry and chick peas over my shiny new Macbook Pro because of you. Worth it tho.

  7. Mike Richards

    Might be a good thing...

    ...if it could also track debris clouds from exploded satellites and spent boosters which are the real threat to satellites.

    I'm not sure about the claim in the article about needing to keep track of geosynchronous satellites - it's very unusual for a geosync satellite to ever move out of its destination slot, and when they're there, they stay put relative to the ground, so not much tracking needed.

    Possibly the US is interested in satellites such as those that hang around in high, or the extremely elliptical Molniya orbits which are used by communication and reconnaissance satellites as well as the Russian Oko early warning satellites.

  8. Solomon Grundy

    Gotta love the military types

    "You might recognise that there was a satellite here and now the satellite is not there, but it takes me a while to go and find it,"

    What that means in civilian speak is:

    You might recosnise that there was a huge pile of money here and now the money is not there, but It takes me a while to spend it.

  9. Cavan

    The world's favourite policeman

    which of the spy sats is more of a spy sat, the spy sat or the spy sat watching the spy sat.

    PS ... will it know where I put my keys?

  10. Herby

    I sense a James Bond movie here

    Why? I don't know, but there is a plot in this. Ground based zapper of space based zapper/looker?

    Do I get something for this? Will I meet Daniel Craig? Will Q section build something? .....

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    isn't it cheaper

    to just hire Ted Molczan? He seems to be doing pretty damn well for free!

  12. Pete Silver badge

    The Emperor's new satellite

    Is this an example of blinkered thinking?

    The idea that just because the americans have (and rely on) spy satellites, other countries do the same. I don't know who the americans consider their enemies -although I'm sure their list is long: without a suitable level of paranoia, they'd have difficulty in justifying the expense of all these pointless toys. However if I was a member of a "hostile" government and I wanted to know what the yanks were up to, I'd simply get in touch with the diaspora and ask them. Whether they are working in low paid (illegal?) jobs, such as cleaners or in highly privileged positions such as researchers, someone's bound to know something - or to know someone who know's what the hell is going on. And all this without a satellite in sight - apart from the one that handles the phone call, This is much more reliable than using satellite imagery - as the WMD debacle illustrated (remember the photos the americans put in front of the UN), since the people on the ground can tell you what's going on inside buildings, not to just photograph their outsides. Plus the intel' can be gained on cloudy days and at night!

    Finally, if there was something that I really, absolutely, desperately needed a photo of, there are lots of commercial operations such as SPOT that can oblige. it it ain't big enough to appear in one of their photos, If probably isn't that important.

  13. Mike Powers

    Judas Priest?

    Always in focus

    Can't feel my stare

    I zoom into you

    But you don't know I'm there

    I take a pride in reading all your secret moves

    My tearless retina takes pictures that can prove

    I'm made of metal

    My circuits clean

    I am perpetual

    I keep the country clean

  14. Kenneth Chan

    Laser pointer

    Yes, and for an extra $10M I will equip the new spy bots with a laser pointer, Totally harm less, but imagine the fun you can have.... Deep in a bunker somewhere in China... "What is that red dot doing on the satellite? OMG! Dame Yankee!"


  15. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    Its how i would do it

    So the Problem is "How to develop a space warfare capability and militarisation of space whilst maintaining plausible deniability that your doing no such thing and thus keep the pork barrel rolling into new a lucrative theatres"


    1) Develop ABM technology that isnt designed to take on a MAD type attack but instead just to have reliable pop at the odd rogue states ballistic money shot attempts.

    2) Ensure that the ABM technology is sufficiently capable to engage "other things" on a multi platform basis.

    3) Launch a satellite that "goes a bit wrong and needs to be shot down for our safety"...... "lives are at risk dammit, if that thing lands within 20ft of someone they will er .... run away and ............ video it and ...... erm sell it on eBay ....... which is bad for them!" (This is disinformation, nobody will believe your cover story but the BBC but they will assume your trying to protect ultra secret spy kit instead rather than the actual reason which is that its really just a big old weapons test target drone)

    4) Divert funds you were supposed to spend on your "faulty" satellite (which is really just a flying target that weighs the same) on something more fun connected with black whirly birds or projects for your bezzie mates in the hi tech gadgets business.

    5) State that your going to have modify your ABM kit in a rush, but through the power of human ingenuity youll pull through, just in time to save the world, when all you really need to do is, well, not much as that's what it was designed for in the first place.

    6) Conduct weapons test ..... er........ i mean mission to save the world from a your target ........ erm........ genuine faulty satellite

    7) Go to dodgy senate committee and present your findings that your anti satellite kits works, nobody can prove anything, they think were heroes, can we have more money please

    8) Launch satellite targeting ..... erm ......i mean surveillance satellite system

    9) Chill out knowing you did it all without obviously breaking the rules and keeping the moral high ground.

    10) Celebrate when other nations who know exactly what your are up to start deploying their own kit in response thus justifying the "need" to develop your own kit in the open and thus perpetuating the self licking ice cream cone / arms development and procurement business for another century.

    Face it dudes you just militarised the final frontier! w00t!. Thats something big, sneeky and worth a pay rise.

    Military Industrial Complex (Globally) - One

    Namby pamby i don't wana die liberals - Nil

    Hey, stop whining, those engineers got kids to feed!

    Black chopters - because its the little black dress of sneaky pork spending circles.

    If this is anywhere near the truth, can someone in the military industrial complex hack into El reg, get my email and offer me a job please, I can design you endless amounts of multi layered cover stories for your projects you want to do but cant and they will make gripping reading which is a plus.

  16. Werner McGoole
    Thumb Up

    That's what I call progress

    Not so long ago we had to worry about whether we'd all be nuked out of existence at 4 minutes notice. Now we worry about whether someone else's spy satellite is watching our spy satellites.

    I have to say I'm a whole lot happier with the new set of worries!

  17. s. pam

    As Alan Parsons would say..

    I am the eye in the sky, looking at you I can read your mind...

  18. Anonymous Coward


    I thought that amanFromMars would've chimed in by now, but alas...

  19. heystoopid

    Sounds like

    Sounds like either a satellite hunter killer or a sub orbital nuclear weapon /large scale scale EMP killer weapon to me reading between the lines !

    Oh crap the whacked out drugged up Yankees yearning for the good old days of the Cold War when the military did whatever it wanted whenever it wanted apart from the 300 odd manned aeroplanes flying over some one else's controlled airspace inadvertently colliding with missiles travelling in their general direction could get any funding they ever wanted from the servile congress pork barrel , now wish to reignite same despite assorted near Earth Space demarcation treaties now in place !

    Still they have to face one small self created fly in the ointment , called the treasury has no real money in the kitty to fund the very expensive kings new set of invisible suit of clothes as it has been blown on both a war without end with no clear winners and bankrupt idiotic bankers from self immolation destruction !

    Duck and cover !

    I'll get my coat , the one with T5 MET bullet holes in it !

  20. Anonymous Coward

    Recursive spying

    Infinite loop aborted ran out of money. Watching you watching me watching you this way lies madness, but that never stopped them before with more nukes than they needed to kill everybody ten times and wanting eleven times just in case.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    Hercules Spy Planes - slightly off topic

    A customer has just told me he drinks with some Americans who fly over europe in a Hercules with a shed load of radio equipment and translators listing to radio conversations. That's all they do all day, like flying TV detector vans. He also reports that they are against the coming attack on Iran.

  22. Ishkandar


    Excuse me ?? The management of Arianne are "good buddies" of the US ?? Even after they called the cheese-eating surrender-monkeys and renamed a certain potato chips Freedom Fries ??

    Anyway, I wish they do this more often. Then they might actually disappear up their own orifice !!

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