Re: More one NASA management

From: JohnTromaville (
Date: 02/08/03

From: (JohnTromaville)
Date: 07 Feb 2003 23:10:05 GMT

>ok first off apologies... i was assuming most of the Optics that can track
>earth were of the type we used a few years back - where the quality due to
>atmospherics and tracking was very degraded.

More intrigue since the FAQ for Shuttle Columbia Loss at:
seems to confirm my experiance that pictures of objects in LEO are of reduced

so i won't retract an apology - since that is bad manners - but I will cavaet
by saying the quality of pictures remain to be seen! an extract from the FAQ:
It's a nice idea, and it was actually tried during STS-1 when tiles
were lost during ascent on Columbia. However, due to atmospheric
distortion the images taken with ground-based cameras were totally
useless due to the poor resolution. As for the satellite photos taken
with the Department of Defense "Keyhole" spy satellites, their
effectiveness is still in question to this day. As the capabilities of
the "Keyhole" satellites is still top secret, only serious space
historians and reconnaissance historians such as James Oberg, Allen
Thompson and Dwayne Allen Day have had any semblance of access to
the documentation and any "leaked" results of such a use of these
high-powered optics. All three have pretty much concluded that the
1981 imaging was unlikely to have provided anything useful, and that
any such reports regarding usable photos of Columbia while in orbit
with regards to resolving missing tiles are likely nothing more than
an "urban legend".

So, with that in mind...again, it's a nice idea, but over two decades
later, even with ground cameras being equipped with laser-based
adaptive optics and even commercial satellites being capable of
resolving details previously visible only by the big secret military
birds, odds are slim that any of them would have had the required
resolution, much less been in position, to have detected any damage
on the underside of Columbia.

Still, this hasn't kept people from asking why NASA didn't make the
attempt. During one of the first post-mishap press briefings,
Shuttle program manager Ron Dittemore was queried about the
possibility of using ground-based cameras to check for tile damage
as was done during STS-95. Dittemore remarked that the ground
telescope photos taken from Maui during the John Glenn flight after
the drag chute door was lost on launch were not of sufficient
resolution to aid analysis.

Since a picture paints a thousand words, here's a source for visual
examples of attempts at ground-based observations of objects in

This site has pictures of various satellites including the Shuttle
and Mir taken from ground telescopes and compares some of them to
close ups taken from recently released satellites. This includes
a publicly released photo from Maui. It also discusses the use of
Keyhole satellite photos during STS-1.

Since that first press conference, it's been announced that The
telescope atop Haleakala Crater on Maui may have the ability
to track fast-moving objects. Officials announced on 2/3/03 that
the Maui telescopes took a series of images of the space shuttle
as it flew over the Pacific Ocean. Those images, taken before
the mishap, may provide some answers as to what went wrong, and
NASA officials have confirmed they will be analyzing the images.
End quote

will try to stop my contributing to any more noise on sci.crypt.

Relevant Pages

  • Re: Abandon Earth or Face Extinction, Stephen Hawking Warns -- Again
    ... Manned Orbiting Laboratory (MOL) would have been America's first space ... satellites, which I'm sure the Russians would have objected to. ... to allow them to see satellite photographs of areas such as earthquake ... These are routinely denied as the photos are classified. ...
  • Re: More one NASA management
    ... Ok evidence for them not being able to do a space walk is that the shuttle bay ... Columbia without special equipment not present onboard. ... As for the satellite photos taken with the Department of Defense ... "Keyhole" spy satellites, their effectiveness is still in question to this day. ...
  • Re: why no satellite close pictures of moon landing bases?
    ... Cars, yes, but not shoes. ... The more detailed photos are from aircraft, ... resolution of commercial satellites. ... You don't know which photos are from satellites ...
  • Re: What Will be the Future of NASA?
    ... Consider how low the satellites are. ... optics, you're still going to hit the atmospheric limits. ... No matter what you do, the laws of physics are still going to get you ... "The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; ...
  • Re: New Google Earth and Barrows in Oxfordshire
    ... "Tom McDonald" wrote... ... tell *when* these photos were taken from ... the satellites? ... Take a look at the dates on the cars' ...