Sunday, December 02, 2007

Dodgy Cheques

What conclusions should we draw from the failure of the US's Future Imagery Architecture reconnaissance satellite program?

After all, under longstanding and still secret agreements with the US, Britain has not developed any satellite reconnaissance capability because the US promises to provide us with access to the product from theirs. This has been denied at least once, in 1982. Now, however, it looks like the quality and availability of this stuff is going to decline anyway.

And this at the moment when the Illustrious may be going to take an Italian Harrier squadron to the Indian Ocean 'cos the Navy, post-Sea Harrier withdrawal, has committed all available Harriers - 8 - to Afghanistan, and apparently the RAF's two Harrier squadrons are fully utilised in Norfolk despite being carrier-trained.

Gah. The good news is that we do have the good people at Astrium Stevenage and Surrey Sat Tech, and there's plenty of Arianes available.

1 comment:

Tom Womack said...

Mirror, parabolic, 1.5 metre diameter, silicon-carbide lightweighted: ten million pounds

100kpix hyperspectral pushbroom focal-plane setup: ten million pounds

Solar panels, comms dishes, structural components, magnetic torquers et al: fifty million pounds

Two channels on Skynet 5 24/7: sixty million pounds

Getting an Ariane 5 taking one of Murdoch's satellites up to drop you off in LEO on the way : a hundred million pounds

Independent IMINT capability: priceless

Everyone and their aunt seems to be launching 1m-resolution radar satellites at the moment; SAR-Lupe from Germany, COSMO-SkyMed from Italy, the Japanese Information Gathering Satellites.

I don't know what French radar imaging is like, though obviously they have SPOT; what's the current status of their threat to publish high-res photos and orbital elements of all USA satellites with unpublished orbital elements?

I wish that the SAR imagery from Envisat were as well-disseminated as the optical imagery is through MIRAVI.

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