French threaten to reveal US spy satellites
The Inquirer | September 11, 2007
FRENCH OFFICIALS are threatening to reveal the location of between 20 and 30 US spy satellites which do not figure in the US Defense Department's published catalogue.
The threat is part of a French attempt to pressure the US to stop telling the world plus dog where it puts its reconnaissance and military communications satellites.
The French Defence Ministry said it has gathered just about enough information to negotiate an agreement with the United States.
The US Defense Department's Space Surveillance Network publishes a catalogue of satellites and debris in both low Earth orbit and the higher geostationary orbit at 36,000 kilometers in altitude, where telecommunications satellites operate.
The material is very useful for outfits who want to stick satellites in orbit. However the Space Surveillance does not detail US spy satellites in its published results for security reasons. This does not apply to foreign powers.
A French spokesman said that it understands why the US wants to keep its satellites secret, however they should understand that other nations do not like people to know where their satellites are either. The Chinese might crash into them.
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