[amsat-bb] Source of AO-85/Fox-1 elements?

Phil Karn karn at ka9q.net
Sat Oct 7 00:22:04 UTC 2017

What is the source of the AO-85/FOX-1 orbital elements I see through the
usual channels? Kelso's Celestrak isn't carrying them. When I inquired,
I learned that it's US policy not to release elements for any object
associated with an NRO launch -- and AO-85 was launched with USA 264,
2015-058A, #40964.

Kelso already asked for an exception but was denied. But NRO isn't doing
a very good job of hiding our satellite, as current elements are readily
available on the (German) Heavens-Above site:

1 40967U 15058D   17278.51421614  .00000880  00000-0  11831-3 0 01124
2 40967 064.7745 244.1947 0178987 037.6014 323.7456 14.75520632016072

Even the *primary* (spook) payload USA264 also has current elements there:

1 40964U 15058A   17278.82038009 0.00000000  00000-0  00000-0 0    00
2 40964  63.4416 239.2742 0066660 175.8104 184.1896 13.40733320    01

though these probably came from the dedicated worldwide team of
volunteer SEESAT observers that for decades has provided the dual public
service of producing their own element sets for US spy satellites and
making fools of the US spooks in the process.

And a close comparison will show that USA264 and AO-85 aren't even in
the same orbit, which makes the non-publication policy even sillier than
it first appeared.

"When everything is classified, nothing is classified..."


More information about the AMSAT-BB mailing list