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U.S. Withholding Satellite Data

timothy posted more than 9 years ago | from the derives-from-a-mandate-from-the-masses dept.

Space 274

plover writes "Because of Congressional legislation passed quietly in 2003, the Air Force Space Command will no longer distribute space surveillance data via NASA. There was supposed a three year transitional period where the data was to be made available via a NASA web site, but earlier this month their transitional server went down hard, and NASA has decided to not rebuild it. (It was scheduled to be shut down on 31 March 2005 anyway.) The only way to obtain satellite data now is by signing up with the official Space-Track website. Part of the agreement to obtaining data from their site is that you agree to not redistribute their data. Of course, amateurs are still free to redistribute their observations, including those of classified satellites."

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Homeland Security? (2, Interesting)

mOoZik (698544) | more than 9 years ago | (#11742493)

What reasons are cited for this development? Security?

Re:Homeland Security? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11742497)

second post

Re:Homeland Security? (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11742555)

Vaterland security, please.

Re:Homeland Security? (3, Funny)

PartyBoy!911 (611650) | more than 9 years ago | (#11742677)

Vaderland security! They don't want you to notice the Death Star..

Re:Homeland Security? (3, Funny)

CPgrower (644022) | more than 9 years ago | (#11742575)

Bush didn't want any satellite photos of him smoking a joint [reuters.com] .

Re:Homeland Security? (4, Funny)

secretsquirel (805445) | more than 9 years ago | (#11742785)

or as he used to call them, a freedom joint.

Re:Homeland Security? (4, Insightful)

tarogue (84626) | more than 9 years ago | (#11743039)

If nobody cared about him snorting coke and driving drunk, why the hell would anyone care about him smoking pot?

Re:Homeland Security? (2, Funny)

DingerX (847589) | more than 9 years ago | (#11742661)

Yeah, there was some "Chatter" that OBL was aiming to take down a couple of spy satellites with a modified ICBM, so they took the information offline, forcing him back to "Plan B": firing that sucker at the US's Eastern Seaboard, where the vaunted US Missile Defense will interceive it with technology that Really Works(TM).

In a related development, Lockheed-Martin announced today it's new SatTrac(TM) feature, where your company can receive daily updates on the orbital patterns of nearly 1500 earth satellites for a modest starting subscription of $20,000/month. Specialized Hardware, Training seminars and Software customization can also be had for a modest fee.

Re:Homeland Security? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11742927)

Careful! /. seems highly allergic to stories about Missile Defence. Do you remember seeing anything about the last two failures of that particular useless boondoggle? Me neither. Hmmm...

Re:Homeland Security? (3, Funny)

blowdart (31458) | more than 9 years ago | (#11742748)

The sight of the Goa'uld mothership would panic the normal population.

Oh sorry you said Air Force Space Command?

Quietly passed (3, Interesting)

michaelhood (667393) | more than 9 years ago | (#11742495)

Why isn't there some sort of community political watchdog site that informs us when things are "quietly passed"? Tell us about everything that's in the works, let us decide what we do and don't like.

Re:Quietly passed (5, Insightful)

SFalcon (809084) | more than 9 years ago | (#11742527)

The congressmen passing these bills barely skim the 1000+ page documents. You expect a non-paid volunteer to skim through each one? Count me out.

Re:Quietly passed (3, Insightful)

luvirini (753157) | more than 9 years ago | (#11742538)

That is definitely part of the problem. There are simply too many laws with too many things in each law. Usually laws also contain provisions that have nothing to do with the man law.

Unfortunately until enough people throw away the atitude of "well, politics are supposed to be corrupt" I do not see much change.

Re:Quietly passed (5, Funny)

Nefarious Wheel (628136) | more than 9 years ago | (#11742755)

That is definitely part of the problem. There are simply too many laws with too many things in each law

There should be three houses of Congress; The Senate, the House of Representatives and the Board of Editors. The third house would be comprised of disenfranchised magazine editors whose sole and entire purpose was to repeal legislation the other two houses dreamed up.

Re:Quietly passed (4, Insightful)

xstonedogx (814876) | more than 9 years ago | (#11742772)

I agree.

The simplest solution is to stop voting these folks into office. Unfortunately that requires people to actually give a crap and not just pick a party and stick to it like a religion.

It also requires people to realize there are issues other than abortion and gun control that are both important and likely to be seriously addressed.

These laws are "quietly passed" because everyone is focused on the media-friendly issues that are never resolved (because they are political suicide for any politician who addresses them seriously).

Re:Quietly passed (2, Interesting)

hairyfeet (841228) | more than 9 years ago | (#11742875)

The problem is that it doesn't matter if you care or not.It has become so expensive to run that you get one rich white guy in bed with big business versus another rich white guy in bed with big business. The only way I could see it changing is if we made it more like jury duty.You are picked by a drawing made from a pool of voters.Extra weight would be given to those that have given back to the community (teachers,firemen,soldiers,etc) and we would get to choose from the five or so that had the best scores overall. You would get paid exactly the same as if you were working your normal job plus time and a half for serving then their wouldn't be any political careers and they couldn't sell out before they even left their home state. Until something changes I don't think after twenty years I'm going to vote anymore because I'm tired of choosing between corrupt rich guys.I thought bush sr vs dukakis was bad but dubya versus heinz was just the last straw. Besides,With the states switching to electronic voting how long do you think it will take before no matter which button you push you vote for "El Presidente" anyway?

Re:Quietly passed (5, Insightful)

Dot.Com.CEO (624226) | more than 9 years ago | (#11742957)

You just dreamt a 2.500 year old system. It was called "democracy" and it worked. Even down to the "lottery" for public office.

I also see from your post that you are thinking of not voting any more. I see this more and more in my generation (I'm 31 years old) and I hate it more and more. Not voting is NOT a political statement. Find a party or if nothing out there stands for what you stand for MAKE a party, even if it only gets one vote, yours. Or if you don't want the trouble go to the polling station and vote blank. A blank vote is a vote against ALL parties and shows yor dissatisfaction with them AND with the system. The main problem is that nowadays we have left politics to the professionals, and we forget that it is our OBLIGATION rather than our right to participate in the commons.

I have absolutely no sympathy towards people who say "I don't vote". Apathy is not a valid political point of view.

Re:Quietly passed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11742580)

There is.

Air America [airamericaradio.com]

If they weren't "QUIETLY PASSED" they (1)

Rooked_One (591287) | more than 9 years ago | (#11742581)

wouldn't be passed at all

either that or its just "that left wing propaganda to make it look scary"

Re:Quietly passed (2, Interesting)

MagicDude (727944) | more than 9 years ago | (#11742583)

If there is some group out there looking out for these sort of things, they probably didn't have the means of getting the word out. They were probably derided as a bunch of kooks by the media or any kind of outlet they tried to talk to. Getting information out is hard if you don't have the infrastructure to get people to listen to you.

Here's an example of such a failure. In Hawaii, there is a tsunami monitering center, the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center, [noaa.gov] which moniters the west coast of the US, and pretty much all of the pacific basin for tsunami. I'll bet that after the massive seaquake, they knew what was coming. I'll also bet that there was no protocol for who they could contact to pass on this information. While they probably had a system for warning the continental US about dangers approaching the west coast, it doesn't seem like had a contact in the state department who could inform foreign governments about the information they had. With 2-3 hours notice, several thousand lives could have been saved in the affected regions. You can raise the point about not being able to help poor vilages who have no infrastructure and no ability to contact them, and that's a valid point. However, there were still thousands of casualities on resort beaches in tourist cities, places where communication infractructure wasn't a problem. The problem was that you had these group of people in Hawaii with lifesaving information who were likely shouting in the dark trying to get someone to listen to them, which is what likely happened to any watchdog group who may have known about this legislation.

Re:Quietly passed (1)

FredThompson (183335) | more than 9 years ago | (#11742762)

Lots of speculation. Is that how you cover up for lack of knowledge? Assuming you are making mention of the December 2004 tsunami, your whole sceanario falls apart when you examine the truth that warning was provided. The failure to warn wasn't from U.S. monitors, it was local governments.

Re:Quietly passed (1)

rbanffy (584143) | more than 9 years ago | (#11743040)

Maybe we should set up motion detectors on all legislative bodies (I am talking about Brazil, but I guess a similar device could be used anywhere in the world) that make alarms go off if someone is working past midnight. When politicians work that late, probably to avoid too much press, we expect their worse ;-)

The technique should also be adapted to detect legislation that is passed abnormally fast.

And, about the original topic, do they really think that anyone who has the ability to shot down a satellite needs their help to find targets?

Definition of fascism (3, Insightful)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 9 years ago | (#11742507)

Government, by and for corporations, of the people.

Before you flame me with narrowminded visions of brownshirts blotting out your vision, realize that this was Mussolini's definition, and it's what we've got in the USA. Then consider that the brownshirts aren't too far off, either in the future or in actual conditions today.

Fascism is the human face on the corporate body politic. And these days, the mask is off.

Re:Definition of fascism (1)

luvirini (753157) | more than 9 years ago | (#11742530)

Fascism is the human face on the corporate body politic. And these days, the mask is off.

Well, not off fully. But the trend seems to be set for that to be more and more the case.

Re:Definition of fascism (5, Informative)

Xel'Naga (673728) | more than 9 years ago | (#11742657)

...this was Mussolini's definition

Who has the right to make a definition? If he had thought he could have convinced anyone, Mussolini would have defined fascism as paradise. That doesn't necessarily mean it is correct.

Allow me to quote the definition found on Wikipedia (No link, it's currently out):
Definition
The word fascism has come to mean any system of government resembling Mussolini's, that
* exalts nation and sometimes race above the individual,
* uses violence and modern techniques of propaganda and censorship to forcibly suppress political opposition,
* engages in severe economic and social regimentation.
* engages in corporatism,[1] (http://www.britannica.com/eb/article?tocId=219369 )
* implements or is a totalitarian regime.

In an article in the 1932 Enciclopedia Italiana, written by Giovanni Gentile and attributed to Benito Mussolini, fascism is described as a system in which "The State not only is authority which governs and molds individual wills with laws and values of spiritual life, but it is also power which makes its will prevail abroad.... For the Fascist, everything is within the State and... neither individuals nor groups are outside the State.... For Fascism, the State is an absolute, before which individuals or groups are only relative...."

Mussolini, in a speech delivered on October 28, 1925, stated the following maxim that encapsulates the fascist philosophy: "Tutto nello Stato, niente al di fuori dello Stato, nulla contro lo Stato." ("Everything in the State, nothing outside the State, nothing against the State".) Therefore, he reasoned, all individuals' business is the state's business, and the state's existence is the sole duty of the individual.

Historians should judge the leaders of the world - not themselves. And it appears historians consider corporatism a rather small part of fascism. It is later in that article described as more of a means than an end.

Historians often judge people and their deeds quite different from what they would do themselves. Consider this quote: (Translated from German to Danish to english - sorry)

"At this hour I feel, that it is my duty to my own conscience again to appeal to the common sense, both in Great Britain and elsewhere(...)
I can see no reason for this war to continue. Herr Churchill will probably disregard this statement by saying, that it is born of fear and doubt about our final victory. In that case I have relieved my conscience about the things that are to follow."
Adolf Hitler - 19. july 1940.

Yet historians put the blame of the atrocities of the second world war on Hitler, rather than Churchill.
(Yes, I know about Godwin's law)

Re:Definition of fascism (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11742741)

I can see no reason for this war to continue. Herr Churchill will probably disregard this statement by saying, that it is born of fear and doubt about our final victory. In that case I have relieved my conscience about the things that are to follow." Adolf Hitler - 19. july 1940.

source?

Re:Definition of fascism (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11742757)

Yea its true that Hitler didnt want to continue the war with Churchill. Hitler felt that the britons were pretty good on the racial scale, much better than the Russians as far as he was concerned and never really wanted to go to war with them. They just happened to get in the way. Nevertheless Churchill kinda noticed that the Nazis were Nazis and didnt want to come to some agreement that would condem the rest of europe and the world into becoming under the control of the Nazi's. So yea it is hitlers fault, and dont cite historical stuff and misinterpret it please.

Re:Definition of fascism (1)

kamapuaa (555446) | more than 9 years ago | (#11742866)

Why is a reasoned response to a knee-jerk GEORGE BUSH SI A FASCIST!!! post moderated "troll"?

Re:Definition of fascism (2, Informative)

kir (583) | more than 9 years ago | (#11742700)

I'm a little confused how this event even remotely relates to fascism. The TLE data is still freely available on the Space Track website [space-track.org] .

Everything isn't doom and gloom you know. It boggles the mind how you got from this story to fascism so quickly (5 minutes?). Or did you not actually read the links provided?

I smell stormtroopers!!! ;-)

Re:Definition of fascism (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11742802)

Yeah, and Mussolini didn't release satellite tracking data to the public either. The dots sure do line up!

Re:Definition of fascism (1)

foobsr (693224) | more than 9 years ago | (#11742821)

And these days, the mask is off.

Truly.

While reporting sometimg along the following "Deutsche Bank reports 2004 pre-tax profit of 4.1 billion, up 50%, and fourth quarter 2004 pre-tax profit of 418 million after reorganisation charges of 574 million" it was also said that they are going to cut approx. 6500 jobs worldwide, around 1900 in Germany alone.

CC.

Re:Definition of fascism (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11742858)

Fuck you and this persistent Slashdot-groupthink-the world is out to get me crap. GET THE FUCK OVER OVER YOURSELVES, PEOPLE.

Here's a story about satellite images not being made public, and off you go molding it to fit your fucked up world view.

Jesus, at this point, I don't know which of us needs to rub one off more: you to ease the pain of a world that doesn't absorb your memes or me for having to point this out.

Re:Definition of fascism (2, Funny)

XorNand (517466) | more than 9 years ago | (#11742865)

Fascism has zero to do with corporations. This article has zero to do with Fascism OR corporations.

For before you mod me down for stating the obvious, I'm beginning to wonder if Slashcode parses and automatically mods up and comments containing "before you 'flame me|mod me down'".

This is bullshit (-1)

the angry liberal (825035) | more than 9 years ago | (#11742508)

So, I'm back to using a commercial service to get the weather information my tax dollars already paid for. ...and they call the crap on 9/11 terrorism.

Re:This is bullshit (1)

luvirini (753157) | more than 9 years ago | (#11742548)

Ofcourse, I mean, I am sure terrorists will be so much easier to track if they have to use commercial weather information services, like newspapers.

Re:This is bullshit...No it's not (4, Informative)

scheme (19778) | more than 9 years ago | (#11742564)

So, I'm back to using a commercial service to get the weather information my tax dollars already paid for. ...and they call the crap on 9/11 terrorism.

The surveillance data that was being provided was of orbital information of satellites that the Air Force was tracking including corrections and orbital decay information. This has nothing to do with weather information.

Re:This is bullshit...No it's not (0)

the angry liberal (825035) | more than 9 years ago | (#11742634)

Everyone kind of missed my point. I was calling the government a bunch of terrorists for coming up with this whole concept of charging me for a service, then sending me to someone else and paying again to collect the data.

Re:This is bullshit...No it's not (2, Interesting)

Billly Gates (198444) | more than 9 years ago | (#11742778)

The data is still free.

Its the projections of the sattelites that are secret and should be. Why should we all care?

A powerfull land based laser could take out a satelite and a trajectory is needed.

Weather and other services are still available.

Re:This is bullshit...No it's not (1)

hcdejong (561314) | more than 9 years ago | (#11742982)

Someone with the resources to build a large enough laser (AFAIK 'large enough' is still larger than possible with current technology), can also afford to buy the tracking data, or do his own tracking.

WTF (2, Informative)

jim_v2000 (818799) | more than 9 years ago | (#11742711)

Commercial site? You mean you pay for weather info? What about Weather.com? Wunderground.com? Or the govt website NOAA.gov? Or hell, turn on the radio at the top of the hour and listen to the weather.

Waaaa! Waaaa!! (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11742517)

Now I can't seek out sensitive targets, so kindly provided by the enemy. What horrible irony that the Aggressor no longer provides me with my targets!!!

Waaaaa!

How did server go down? (0)

almost-empty (861377) | more than 9 years ago | (#11742521)

They neglected to say how the origional server went down "hard". Did someone hack it? Or did it just crash? I could believe that they would pull it after a hacking incident, but after a hardware failure, I can't see that they would just drop it after that. But oh well, yet another alphabet agency...

Re: How did server go down? (3, Funny)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 9 years ago | (#11742592)


> They neglected to say how the origional server went down "hard". Did someone hack it?

Wikipedia was hosting it...

Re:How did server go down? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11742773)

In soft, smooth strokes. Yes.
Like that, only softer. Yes.
Harder now. Yes.
Faster. Yes.
That's it. Yes. Yes. YES. YES!

Eazy, now.. Soooooft... eeeeazyyyyy... ahhhaaaa.. ahhhaaa.

That's it, lick it all...

UH.. WHAT? UH.. NOTHING.. NOTHING AT ALL! Just looking up some PROGRESS charts! Yeah, that's it.
Uh.. the stuff on the floor? Uh... White-out! yeah I was studying the floor for gramatical errors, yeah, And just look how many I found!

I'm sure there's a reasonable explanation.... (2, Insightful)

Silentnite (815125) | more than 9 years ago | (#11742523)

The government never does anything wrong, or stupid, or um... God I can't stop laughing. This is worth a karma burn.

I really have nothing else to say, this is just plain crap.

Let's all wait for the chorus of "Now I'm moving to canada"

Re:I'm sure there's a reasonable explanation.... (2, Funny)

Kn0xy (792482) | more than 9 years ago | (#11742734)

"Let's all wait for the chorus of "Now I'm moving to canada""

Never Fear, that choir moved last november. =)

Re:I'm sure there's a reasonable explanation.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11742845)

>Let's all wait for the chorus of "Now I'm moving to canada"

Ahh... yes... security through obscurity. Sticking your head in the sand will really stop those nukes.

Re:I'm sure there's a reasonable explanation.... (2, Funny)

Supernoma (794214) | more than 9 years ago | (#11742877)

What nukes? Who wants to blow up Canada? We're too busy up here smoking our medical marijuana and drinking our Canadian beer to piss off other nations.

Spies. (1)

dauthur (828910) | more than 9 years ago | (#11742531)

Sometimes you really need to wonder what they're going to do with those images.

I prophesized that instead of taking the Hubble out of service, that they use it as surveillance, seeing as how looking at Alpha Centauri isn't too big of a deal. They could get incredible quality pictures if it were a spy mechanism.

The only problem is, what about World Wind? Am I not going to be able to have updated images now? Such a tragedy!

Re:Spies. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11742636)

I prophesized that instead of taking the Hubble out of service, that they use it as surveillance

Hubble is no good for taking images of anything that's close to it (such as the Earth), which would make it useless for surveillance. Something about focal lengths, I believe, but I'm not a scientist, so I can't be entirely sure.

Don't worry though, this is Slashdot, so I'm sure there will be someone along to say that we're both wrong at any moment now.

Re:Spies. (4, Informative)

mbrother (739193) | more than 9 years ago | (#11742687)

Hubble is no good for looking at the Earth because it's too bright. It would flood and destroy the detectors! We always have to do bright object checks and are restricted with how close we can look at bright objects. They made one exception to look at the moon once, but I believe they had to do some tricky things to manage that.

Some astronomers at the Space Telescope Science Institute told me about unidentified people from the government coming to see them in the early 1990s. Hubble was having problems with a wobble when moving between light and shadow, and they were making progress in reducing it. I was told these people answered no questions, only asked them. Sounded like they had their own version of Hubble, pointed Earthward. Duh. Don't know its capabilities, but I'm sure it's pretty good.

Re:Spies. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11742795)

NASA's Hubble Space Telescope is rumored to be a derivative of the KH-11/12 spy satellites. http://www.fas.org/spp/military/program/imint/kh-1 1.htm [fas.org]

Re:Spies. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11742878)

which is why the mirror wasn't made right... the other two worked fine.

Re:Spies. (5, Interesting)

fremsley471 (792813) | more than 9 years ago | (#11742842)

Hubble is no good for looking at the Earth because it's too bright. It would flood and destroy the detectors!

No. Hubble regularly looks at Earth for calibration purposes. See: http://www.stsci.edu/stsci/meetings/shst2/williams r.html [stsci.edu]

Re:Spies. (1)

mbrother (739193) | more than 9 years ago | (#11743025)

Earth flats are not at all the same thing as looking at the Earth directly.

UV-sensitive MAMA detectors would be destroyed. CCDs would saturate rapidly.

Re:Spies. (1)

fremsley471 (792813) | more than 9 years ago | (#11743147)

Earth flats are not at all the same thing as looking at the Earth directly.

So what are they doing? How are they viewing it 'indirectly'? Please explain.

UV-sensitive MAMA detectors would be destroyed.

So? Who mentioned MAMA? Why would that be looking at Earth?

CCDs would saturate rapidly.

And? They're ccds. It's a calibration. They want to look for errors in the ccd pixels so they want them to saturate. They need a handy bright, wide, target...

Oh, and the parent's post's mention of the solar panels flexing problem and the spying community's reaction (i.e. they knew all about it) has been covered in Eric Chaisson's 'Hubble Wars'. That's one of the reasons that the solar panel design was changed (see first servicing mission, STS-61).

Re:Spies. (2, Interesting)

b00le (714402) | more than 9 years ago | (#11742969)

I had always understood that Hubble itself was a derivative of the Keyhole KH-11 spy satellites - i.e. the satellite bus and basic telescope were an existing design (that's why it was so cheap...). The sensors would of course be quite different; Earth Observation satellites are more like scanners than cameras. Google KH-11 for more info., but don't blame me when your garden fills up with black helicopters.

Re:Spies. (2, Interesting)

hcdejong (561314) | more than 9 years ago | (#11743010)

The Keyhole [fas.org] series of satellites are similar to Hubble. The KH-12 has "a resolution approaching ten centimeters".

Space photography & Blue Marble/Earth Observat (1)

securitas (411694) | more than 9 years ago | (#11742544)


Does anyone know if "surveillance data" also includes digital photography from other government satellites and the Blue Marble/Earth Observatory [nasa.gov] ?

Are there any plans to extend this ban to cover these categories?

Remember the Microsoft TerraServer? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11742549)

It had photos of Area 51, etc. Well that service is gone too. It's been down for years...

How difficult is it to build ? (4, Interesting)

zymano (581466) | more than 9 years ago | (#11742557)

How hard is it to build a spy/telescope satellite ?

I found this site about building a miniature

Miniature Space satellite [micro-a.net]

A canadian cheapy.
Canadian Satellite [space.com]

I think it would be cool if someone could put a cheap one in space from off the shelf telescope parts . Don't you think these prices for these orbitting telescopes are a bit farfetched ?

Re:How difficult is it to build ? (1)

hunterx11 (778171) | more than 9 years ago | (#11742645)

I can buy a deck of cards at my local drugstore for a buck, but that doesn't mean that it won't cost several thousand to send it into space.

Once again.. (3, Insightful)

Turn-X Alphonse (789240) | more than 9 years ago | (#11742560)

Once again knowledge resources are shut down for no reason at all. It seems the world in general is getting more and more shut out from Information.. how can ANY government claim this is healthy?

The dumber the people get the more they need help, the more help they need the more the 'powers that be' control them. The more they control them.. the closer to get to 1984.

I'm not into Space, but right now every day I hear more things are being hidden or shut down, yet we're still happy to waste money left right and centre on a war which was ment to be over 12 months ago, when we still have more armed forces there then any where.

Maybe we should stop thinking about how we're going to deal with the "next terrorists" and start thinking "how are we going to make life worth while so we have a reason to fight these terrorists?"

Re:Once again.. (1)

Tyrell Hawthorne (13562) | more than 9 years ago | (#11742602)

Once again knowledge resources are shut down for no reason at all. It seems the world in general is getting more and more shut out from Information.. how can ANY government claim this is healthy?

The dumber the people get the more they need help, the more help they need the more the 'powers that be' control them. The more they control them.. the closer to get to 1984.


"If this were a dictatorship, it would be a heck of a lot easier, just so long as I'm the dictator." -- George W Bush

Re:Once again.. (2, Informative)

kir (583) | more than 9 years ago | (#11742614)

Did you even read the links provide? No "knoweledge resource" is being shut down. The TLEs are available on Space Track. There is a convenient little "Create a New Account" link on the main page.

I'm not into Space

You may not be INTO space, but you're definitely IN space... Space Cadet!

Nasa has tons of servers. (5, Insightful)

ABeowulfCluster (854634) | more than 9 years ago | (#11742561)

Nasa has tons of servers...so, the "oh gee, the server went down, so lets throw our hands in the air and give up" thing doesn't compute. There are always backups of servers. I expect organized agencies to have backups. The 'Server went down so give up' thing only applies to AOL users.

Re:Nasa has tons of servers. (2, Insightful)

Kn0xy (792482) | more than 9 years ago | (#11742750)

"Nasa has tons of servers..."

Are you sure of this? There has been press releases for a couple of years now regarding how desperately NASA needs funding these days. Then again, could spin the conspiracy wheels and chaulk this one up as a ploy to demonstrate how desperate NASA needs money.

But I'm going to look at it like this, They Don't Care. No need to burn yourself out thinking on this one. That project has been 'Scrapped', so what's the point in spending 2-5 days trying to revive the system just to only have it remain in service for another 32 days?

i'm doing my taxes today (3, Insightful)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 9 years ago | (#11742573)

and i'm a us citizen

aren't i paying for this?

so what is the rationale to deny me what i have paid for?

the purpose of my government is to serve me, is it not?

Re:i'm doing my taxes today (4, Insightful)

MagicDude (727944) | more than 9 years ago | (#11742629)

Be careful with your generalization arguments. The wider the net you cast with your argument, the larger the holes are going to be.

By your argument, you would imply thatou are entitled to know where our covert spies are, or where our ships and armies are specifically deployed, since your tax dollars paid for all of that personel and equipment. Or that you are entitled to a free trip on Air Force One, since your taxes paid for it. I'm sure the secreat service would love to have the coordinates of Air Force One broadcast on the internet, because people feel they have a right to know everything all the time. The government does what they feel is in the best interest of their people. And if you feel that they are a bunch of buttmunchers who have more allegiance to the oil industry than to the american people, then vote them out. Otherwise, you have to understand that there's the possibility that there's more to governmental policy than they choose to let you know.

Re:i'm doing my taxes today (2, Insightful)

k-zed (92087) | more than 9 years ago | (#11742656)

The government does what they feel is in the best interest of their people.

...except it doesn't. In fact these days I'm not even sure it should. Anyway, revolutions need to remove/reform the people first, not the government..

Re:i'm doing my taxes today (0, Troll)

torpor (458) | more than 9 years ago | (#11742824)

The government does what they feel is in the best interest of their people.

...except it doesn't. In fact these days I'm not even sure it should.


oh, yeah .. the american gov't is definitely acting in the interests of its people .. [the7thfire.com] especially by not telling them the real reasons for things. when they say "protecting national security", they really mean "preventing our nation from collapsing in civil war"...

Re:i'm doing my taxes today (1)

DAldredge (2353) | more than 9 years ago | (#11742704)

The courts already allow exemptions for nation security matters and since they will give this data out to people who apply for it who do not have a security interest that demonstrates this isn't a matter of national security.

I am sure the bug is fixed in next version (3, Funny)

luvirini (753157) | more than 9 years ago | (#11742574)

Of course, amateurs are still free to redistribute their observations, including those of classified satellites.

I mean this should clearly be made illegal, I mean publishing information of existance of something secret. I am sure that the next version of the bill will correct this bug.

Re:I am sure the bug is fixed in next version (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11742594)

What do you want them to do? Make it illegal to look into the sky.

Most of the amateurs are simply looking up at the sky and tracking bright satellites.

Just geeks being geeky.

Re:I am sure the bug is fixed in next version (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11742775)

The problem is that since a person who does not have clearance and need to know has no way of knowing what information is classified, they can not be held responsible for disclosing that information. I doubt the government is willing to give amateurs a list of which sattelites are secret so there is no way for any amateur observer to know what is secret or not.

keplerian elements (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11742576)

This is information about the precise orbits of satellites. This is what you would need if you want to shoot down a satellite.

They are not talking about weather photos.

Does anybody read the article? Like the article says, this info is available, more accurately, from a global collaboration of amateur observers.

Re:keplerian elements (3, Funny)

cl191 (831857) | more than 9 years ago | (#11742612)

"Does anybody read the article?" No, of course not, you think people read Playboy for the articles too?

Re:keplerian elements (1, Offtopic)

Zakabog (603757) | more than 9 years ago | (#11742765)

Actually, after looking at a Playboy for the first time today, I would have to say yes. I never bought porn and none of my friends buy playboy, my friend's brother just happened to leave one in his truck. I've heard Playboy is basically a topless Maxim so I went thru the magazine. There were 5 (nude) pictures in the centerfold section and maybe 2 or 3 outside of that. The magazine is mostly articles, and some of them were actually interesting. When I want to look at porn, I'll stay with the 90+ gigs of movies on my computer, when I want to know the best way to convince a girl to have a threesome, I'll read Playboy.

Re:keplerian elements (1)

Fjornir (516960) | more than 9 years ago | (#11742868)

...the best way to convince a girl to have a threesome...

Well? What is it??

Re:keplerian elements (-1, Offtopic)

IdleTime (561841) | more than 9 years ago | (#11743145)

Reading Playboy to figure out how to have a threesome????

You know that the answer is to knock your mom and sister in the head with a club in order for you to have a threesome!

Re:keplerian elements (2, Informative)

FredThompson (183335) | more than 9 years ago | (#11742751)

Of course, the commenters aren't reading the articles. Then they'd have to acknowledge the U.S. government is ceasing a project and reducing spending. If they admitted the government is reducing spending by eliminating an unnecessary program, it wouldn't play into their paranoia. "Brown shirts", indeed! Now, if we can just get rid of that underground helium storage project which goes back to WWII...

Re:keplerian elements (3, Informative)

voisine (153062) | more than 9 years ago | (#11742766)

Shooting down a satellite is pretty much impossible with current technology (as far as you know). It's much more likely the information would be used to decide when you should cover up your wmd's since a spy satellite is about to pass overhead. Don't you read Tom Clancy?

Re:keplerian elements (1)

jrumney (197329) | more than 9 years ago | (#11742952)

This is information about the precise orbits of satellites. This is what you would need if you want to shoot down a satellite.

I think you'd need a bit more than that. A VERY powerful hunting rifle, for instance.

Re:keplerian elements (2, Insightful)

mpe (36238) | more than 9 years ago | (#11743057)

This is information about the precise orbits of satellites. This is what you would need if you want to shoot down a satellite.

If you were going to shoot down a satellite you would need a missile with an accurate guidance system anyway. Anyone who can build such a weapons system can most likely also build a radar system capable of accuratly tracking satellites. Especially given that minimising RCS is typically not a design requirement for a satellite.

Like the article says, this info is available, more accurately, from a global collaboration of amateur observers.

Which further negates any "someone could use this info for their A-Sat weapons system" claim.

Privacy? (3, Informative)

Agret (752467) | more than 9 years ago | (#11742626)

In the "Terms of Use" it states By continuing, you consent to your keystrokes and data content being monitored.

Re:Privacy? (1)

supersat (639745) | more than 9 years ago | (#11742678)

I'm pretty sure that's a standard warning that was adopted back when everyone connected to mainframes. Still, it might be time to break out the tin-foil hats.

Re:Privacy? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11743141)

thats not form normal end users thats to catch people trying to hack the site.

U.S. Withholding Satellite Data -- copyedited (0, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11742640)

plover writes "Due to Congressional legislation passed quietly in 2003, the Air Force Space Command will no longer distribute space surveillance data via NASA. [celestrak.com] There was supposedly a three year transitional period when the data was to be made available via a NASA web site, but earlier this month their transitional server went down hard. NASA has decided not to rebuild it. (It was scheduled to be shut down on 31 March 2005 anyway.) The only way to obtain satellite data now is by signing up with the official Space-Track [space-track.org] website. Part of the agreement to necessary to obtain data from their site is not to redistribute it. Of course, amateurs [satobs.org] are still free to redistribute their observations, [amsat.org] including those of classified satellites." [t-online.de]

Withholding? (5, Insightful)

gordgekko (574109) | more than 9 years ago | (#11742652)

I'm a bit puzzled. If the U.S. is "withholding" satellite data, why is it still freely available via another web site? Less editorializing, more reporting.

This is going to help honestly... (2, Interesting)

FidelCatsro (861135) | more than 9 years ago | (#11742760)

""The only way to obtain satellite data now is by signing up with the official Space-Track website. Part of the agreement to obtaining data from their site is that you agree to not redistribute their data""

Am i the only one thinking that people likely to abuse this information ,are not likely to care about breaking a contract.

Open ended (5, Interesting)

WillieT (861656) | more than 9 years ago | (#11742807)

So I was reading through the "terms of use" and got to this line "... By continuing, you consent to your keystrokes and data content being monitored." The way it's stated is so ambiguous that it's scarry. Anyone else agree?

I didn't realize how far in the future .de was (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11742826)

Last changes(of list of bright satellites): 10/6/3902

anyone care to explain?

Woot Fp (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11742829)

stud7. [rice.edu] little-known time wholesome and

Awww, man. (1, Funny)

Dark Coder (66759) | more than 9 years ago | (#11742891)

No more on-line close up of Paris Hilton nude-sunbathing in the Carribean.

Fuck Slashdotters (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11742893)

I've come here for several years now, because there's some damn smart people who offer some damn smart opinions on interesting affairs. Some even have run counter to my beliefs.

But it's getting harder to find these nuggets, because this goddamned site is drowning in nonsense conspiracy theory. Everything that doesn't quite fit or that the editors have seen fit to twist to meet their agendas is held up as proof that 1) President Bush is a dick, 2) those in power (if even just perceived power) are holding you down, and 3) we'll all be wearing epaulets real soon.

Fuck it. I took a sabbatical of sorts from Slashdot about a year ago when I thought it was getting lean like this. Now its just plain dried up here. It's a tired song you assholes are singing. Bedridden.

America and popular vote (0, Offtopic)

mec_cool (757885) | more than 9 years ago | (#11742984)

I'm from Brussels, Belgium. Your president is here today at Nato and the EU discussing about how we can improve relationship between our two countries). man you should see the messed it's caused here, i can't even park my car in front of my house because it might cause a threat to the president.
Last night there was this huge demonstration in front of the american embassy. It was really impressive to see how people from over here are still mad at Bush for the war in Iraq and american foreign policy in general. However I don't agree with the demonstrator because i don't think our policy is very much different from yours.
Anyway my point is : you slashdotters are really good at complaining about your government, but hey, you elected them. Did you guys at least go to the polls ? And what did you vote ? I bet 51 % voted Bush.

shit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11743156)

I need another source of cute wallpapers..
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