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February 18, 2008

View Images of Top-Secret Satellite

Posted: 02:39 PM ET

Despite a news conference (see the previous blog item from CNN Senior Producer Kate Tobin, and the excellent reader responses), we still don't know all that much about USA-193, the crippled spy satellite that wants to drop out and come home early.

We know a few details about its size, and the possible toxicity of its frozen half-ton of hydrazine fuel.  But we don't know exactly what it does, or where it is.  We wouldn't want that information to fall into the hands of America's enemies.

 Gladly, Friedrich Deters of LaGrange, North Carolina is not one of America's enemies, as far as we know.  Because he got a picture of it. 

Friedrich is one of an army of satellite buffs who research, monitor, and track some of the thousands of orbiting satellites that are up there.  But his photos, taken just before dawn as USA-193 streaked across the sky, looking quite a bit like a meteorite, remind us that today's world is a hard place to keep a secret.   If a smart guy in North Carolina can get a look, how about a hostile government?

Filed under: NASA • Space


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