Satellite Spotters Glimpse Secrets, and Tell Them

Throughout the world, knowledge about satellite activities and orbits is remarkably limited. Yet, as John E. Pike of the space and military watchdog group GlobalSecurity.org notes, the internet has spawned an “important demystification” as to information about satellites. Using websites to upload photos and find other hobbyists has helped a small contingent of “spotters” worldwide to connect, forming the beginnings of a public archive on satellites. Spotters have shown that the prevailing attitudes of satellite-controlling organizations like the US National Reconnaissance Office are impractical in the internet age, writes John Schwartz for the New York Times. No longer can they, as Pike puts it, “pretend they [satellites] don’t exist.” If hobbyists are willing and able to track satellites, then other concerned parties – national governments or non-governmental organizations – can do the same. The debate emerges as the US admits that a spy satellite will fall from the sky, out of control, in 2008. Secrets and surprise landings tend to invite curiosity. – YaleGlobal

Satellite Spotters Glimpse Secrets, and Tell Them

John Schwartz
Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Click here for the original article on The New York Times.

Copyright 2008 The New York Times Company

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