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Misunderstood User
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by flipper35 View Post
You can't do with satellites what you can do with a manned or unmanned aircraft. The sats are trackable and predictable.
I'm reading a book I highly recommend "A Brotherhood of Spies" The U2 and the CIA's secret war by Monte Reel.

The spy program was developed in the 50s because we had no means of a ground spy network to gather information from our foes, specifically the USSR. We were rookies in the area and to develop a spy network would take years and then there is always the question of, is the information accurate? At the time, we were very paranoid that the Russians were surpassing us militarily. (Google the bomber and missile gap) The U2 program was the brainchild of a few people including Kelly Johnson. The belief was that if information was gathered live thru advanced photography would far exceed the accuracy of information gathering. The few believed the technology existed and that a spy plane could be built in a short amount of time. It did.

Spy planes can be put in the air immediately and although the SR-71 is retired, U2 planes still fly. They fly because there is a need for it.

It's a great read -
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Old 01-08-2019, 03:26 PM
  Pelican Parts Catalog | Tech Articles | Promos & Specials    Reply With Quote #61 (permalink)
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Here is a web site that has lots of stories about the aircraft.
Cold War Stories of the Members of Roadrunners Internationale participating in the CIA U-2 Aquatone and OXCART A-12 Projects at Groom Lake Area 51

Dave
Old 01-08-2019, 06:29 PM
  Pelican Parts Catalog | Tech Articles | Promos & Specials    Reply With Quote #62 (permalink)
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My favorite plane of all time. Designed with slide rules by some pretty sharp cookies. Would have been a hoot to tour Skunk Works.

During my years at Sundstrand, in the 70's and 80's, I used to see the Constant Speed Drives in for overhaul fairly regularly and had access to eyeball them. They were unlike any other drives we had built and stuck out like a sore thumb when sitting on a pallet. Wish I had an iphone back then.
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Old 01-11-2019, 07:07 AM
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Yeah, but if you were taking pictures around there, you are liable to get a visit from the guys in black suits and sunglasses.
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Old 01-11-2019, 08:48 AM
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Originally Posted by Tobra View Post
Yeah, but if you were taking pictures around there, you are liable to get a visit from the guys in black suits and sunglasses.
Very likely even with my clearance at that time.

You cannot imagine the security after a failed Shuttle launch. Our power units were suspected culprits. Huge area cordoned off in the plant and lots of security people and NASA techies everywhere. All in less than 18 hours.
Old 01-11-2019, 10:28 AM
  Pelican Parts Catalog | Tech Articles | Promos & Specials    Reply With Quote #65 (permalink)
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I was lucky enough to see an SR71 twice in person back in the mid eightys...
I was working for a rather large aircraft manufacturing outfit located next to Paine field in Everett Wa.
I was used to seeing 747's cruise past at what seemed impossibly slow speeds.
This aircraft was quite different.

I was in an offsite building just East of the main factory complex and we heard through the grapevine that one of these amazing aircraft was going to pay a quick visit.
We all went outside around the time that it was supposed to swing through... as I was looking and listening I also got to see/hear/feel it fly by at maybe a thousand feet off the runway. It was moving!
Just a couple minutes later it came past again at low altitude and pulled up into a vertical climb with ease, wagged the wings a couple times and climbed straight up completely out of sight...
I still get an adrenaline rush thinking about it... it was the most impressive thing I've seen even to this day.
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Old 01-11-2019, 10:55 AM
  Pelican Parts Catalog | Tech Articles | Promos & Specials    Reply With Quote #66 (permalink)
 
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Old 01-11-2019, 01:32 PM
  Pelican Parts Catalog | Tech Articles | Promos & Specials    Reply With Quote #67 (permalink)
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A whole bunch of SR-71 pix

https://imgur.com/gallery/zyu2gLr



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Old 02-17-2019, 12:18 PM
  Pelican Parts Catalog | Tech Articles | Promos & Specials    Reply With Quote #68 (permalink)
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Thanks for that website. Some interesting comments by the photographer; not sure all those are accurate...
Old 02-17-2019, 04:23 PM
  Pelican Parts Catalog | Tech Articles | Promos & Specials    Reply With Quote #69 (permalink)
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Maybe it was mentioned, but why does the U2 still fly and not the SR71? Isn’t the U2 older?

Does the U2 still get the job done at a lower cost or ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by jcommin View Post
I'm reading a book I highly recommend "A Brotherhood of Spies" The U2 and the CIA's secret war by Monte Reel.

The spy program was developed in the 50s because we had no means of a ground spy network to gather information from our foes, specifically the USSR. We were rookies in the area and to develop a spy network would take years and then there is always the question of, is the information accurate? At the time, we were very paranoid that the Russians were surpassing us militarily. (Google the bomber and missile gap) The U2 program was the brainchild of a few people including Kelly Johnson. The belief was that if information was gathered live thru advanced photography would far exceed the accuracy of information gathering. The few believed the technology existed and that a spy plane could be built in a short amount of time. It did.

Spy planes can be put in the air immediately and although the SR-71 is retired, U2 planes still fly. They fly because there is a need for it.

It's a great read -
Old 02-17-2019, 07:31 PM
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Old 02-18-2019, 01:25 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by A930Rocket View Post
Maybe it was mentioned, but why does the U2 still fly and not the SR71? Isn’t the U2 older?

Does the U2 still get the job done at a lower cost or ?
Cost for sure is part of it. The current generation of spy satellites are pretty darnn good, but the folks getting spied on know exactly where they are, and when they will fly over. The new generation of satellites are the size of a load of bread, and there are lots of them. They are overhead all the time, or at least one or two are, and as they move on, the next one comes up.

The biggest issue is finding analysts to sort through the petabytes of new data. Of course the Chinese and Russians and other various bad guys play hide and seek for some things.

It would be cool to really know what the newest super top secret spy aircraft can do. Hopefully they are so far advanced the SR71 looks like a toy. I doubt that, but I hope it is so.
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Old 02-18-2019, 09:09 AM
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Drones are cheap.

Paul could tell you what they can do, but then he would have to kill you. Nobody wants that.
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Old 02-18-2019, 11:17 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GH85Carrera View Post
The biggest issue is finding analysts to sort through the petabytes of new data. Of course the Chinese and Russians and other various bad guys play hide and seek for some things.
That is very true. As much money as we pour into sensors and platforms, we pour into automated systems to work through the petabytes of new data and make tactical sense of the data.

The single biggest hindrance to new systems is the human in the loop unable to differentiate the junk from the objective. The term is "operator recognition differential" and seeks to quantify how the human in the loop impacts system performance.

Quote:
Originally Posted by GH85Carrera View Post
It would be cool to really know what the newest super top secret spy aircraft can do. Hopefully they are so far advanced the SR71 looks like a toy. I doubt that, but I hope it is so.
To a large degree, it honestly isn't about the airplane anymore...sensor performance in space, LEO and air breathers is amazing. Space, Weight and Power of the current and upcoming generation of senors across the EO/IR spectrum, other detection capabilities, Electronic Warfare, etc. is quite something.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tobra View Post
Paul could tell you what they can do, but then he would have to kill you. Nobody wants that.
We are working on a drone that folds and fits inside a bomb shape so it can be carried on the wing of a fight in order to get to the fight at 450kts.

We designed and built the aircraft and we demonstrated the capability to fly and team with manned aircraft last year in the electronic warfare realm. More exercises this year followed by actual deployment from a jet.

More fun than man can stand.

The point is, layered capability is our strength. The U-2 is, btw, an amazing aircraft. I managed the Navy's version of an unmanned U-2, called Triton. The problem is the bad guys have missiles that can (as they did with Francis Gary Powers) impact mission success.

Brave new world.
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Old 02-18-2019, 11:55 AM
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Originally Posted by porsche4life View Post
Why do we need a manned spy plane if we can do the job with UAVs or satellites?
Part of the issue is the lens. How detailed do you think you can be at 100 miles versus 12 miles? As an example, people wonder why we can't zoom in to the Apollo 11 site. The entire site is more than a pixel wide for the best camera on the Hubble Space telescope.
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Old 02-18-2019, 12:08 PM
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Originally Posted by Tobra View Post
Drones are cheap.

Paul could tell you what they can do, but then he would have to kill you. Nobody wants that.
I guess it depends on who he tells!
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Old 02-18-2019, 12:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GH85Carrera View Post
Cost for sure is part of it. The current generation of spy satellites are pretty darnn good, but the folks getting spied on know exactly where they are, and when they will fly over. The new generation of satellites are the size of a load of bread, and there are lots of them. They are overhead all the time, or at least one or two are, and as they move on, the next one comes up.

The biggest issue is finding analysts to sort through the petabytes of new data. Of course the Chinese and Russians and other various bad guys play hide and seek for some things.

It would be cool to really know what the newest super top secret spy aircraft can do. Hopefully they are so far advanced the SR71 looks like a toy. I doubt that, but I hope it is so.
We saw what at first appeared to be a satellite but then it started doing S turns. The shuttle was retired by then and the X37 was still up there so that wasn't slowing down to land at the time either. Don't know what it was but I assume some sort of boost glide vehicle. Probably unmanned from Paul's company that he can't tell us about!
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The X15 was the only aircraft I flew where I was glad the engine quit. - Milt Thompson.

"Don't get so caught up in your right to dissent that you forget your obligation to contribute." Mrs. James to her son Chappie.
Old 02-18-2019, 12:39 PM
  Pelican Parts Catalog | Tech Articles | Promos & Specials    Reply With Quote #77 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by red-beard View Post
Part of the issue is the lens. How detailed do you think you can be at 100 miles versus 12 miles? As an example, people wonder why we can't zoom in to the Apollo 11 site. The entire site is more than a pixel wide for the best camera on the Hubble Space telescope.
That is a big part of it, you are right. We had the 3rd to the last Leica made RC30 film camera ever made. It sucked up 9 inch wide film ($2,750 per roll processing was additional). Each exposure was a 9x9 frame of film. The lenses had reached the limit of resolving capability to be both sharp and accurate. We had to spend 20 grand every three years to send the 500 pounds of camera and lens to be serviced, then send to the USGS to be "calibrated" and all they did was measure the resolving power of the lens and the accuracy. To be any sharper the lenses picked up distortions in other parts of the lens.



This is the lens. It was a 150mm lens, (6 inch focal length) that covered edge to edge of a 9x9 piece of film. It weight over 120 pounds and the entire RC-30 system was on bargain price move it out the door price for 490 grand. It went in a Cessna 206 with a 22 inch hole in the floor that was put in by Cessna when the airplane was made.

If we went up to 6,000 feet above the ground we could shoot one entire square mile at a time, and achieve a 6 inch pixel when we scanned the film at 12 microns (just over 2,000 PPI) with a scanner that cost 70 grand.
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Old 02-18-2019, 01:55 PM
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Here is the back side of the lens or the film side. If you look closely at the corners of the square part you ill see a circle. Those are four of the 6 fiducials that were super accurate measurement points. The scanners and the computer software would local the middle of the fiducial to calculate the precise center of the exposure.

To illustrate the problem any satellite has no matter how fancy the lens, imagine sitting in a football stadium. Now set up the best fanciest camera and lens and take a picture of someone's face from one side of the stadium to the other. Then try it while moving along at 18,000 miles per hour. Now go stand a few feet from them and take another photo with your cell phone. Which photo is going to show more detail. The cell phone of course.
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My Motto: I will never be too old to have a happy childhood!

Last edited by GH85Carrera; 02-18-2019 at 02:14 PM..
Old 02-18-2019, 01:58 PM
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