Photographing near-space objects we’re not supposed to know about

[Thierry Legault] doesn’t just look up at the stars, the uses a motorized telescope base of his own making to track and photograph secret objects orbiting the earth. What do we mean by ‘secret objects’? Spy stuff, of course.

Last month he captured some video of the X-37B, an unmanned and secretive reusable spacecraft (read: spy shuttle) which is operated by the United States Air Force. That was back on the 21st of May but a few nights later he also saw the USA-186, an optical reconnaissance (Keyhole) satellite.

After trying to cope with manual tracking using the RC control seen above [Thierry] set out to upgrade his equipment. He ended up designing his own software package (and then released it as freeware) to automatically track the trajectory of orbiting objects. He uses a second telescope to locate the object, then dials it in with the bigger telescope. Once in frame, the software takes over.

[Wired via Dangerous Prototypes]

Comments

  1. horst says:

    @Valen
    Norad IS the only game in town…
    Norad are the only ones that can scan a large area of the sky with their Space Surveillance Network…

    ESA has radars with big resolution but they can only look at a small portion of the sky at once so they can not realy provide tracking data.

    Afaik there is something similar to SSN planned but with the typical european bureaucracy it takes it time until it is realy build ;)

  2. bzroom says:

    TLDR

    Go United States (biased), go technology, go hackers, fuck terrorists.

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