39 votes
Accepted

Does anyone who works at SpaceX know the paths of classified payloads?

The way something like this typically works is that the customer, in this case the Air Force, calls the path classified, to some level. In the contract, the customer declares what parts are classified,...
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32 votes
Accepted

What kind of "safe" was carried on the Space Shuttles?

It was just a middeck locker with a padlock on it. We had one drawer, one locker that was where we kept all the classified material, and it was padlocked. So once we got on orbit, there was nobody ...
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21 votes
Accepted

What was the outcome of the launch of ZUMA by SpaceX, to the best of the public's knowledge?

What is known: SpaceX issued a statement saying that the Falcon 9 performed as intended An object was seen with spinning plumes that is assumed to be a Falcon 9 upper stage post-thrust fuel dump. ...
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20 votes
Accepted

Suppose Zuma wasn't "lost" — what would it take to detect it?

First of all, what do we know about it's orbit? From the direction that the rocket took off, we know it's inclination was about 50 degrees. That could be adjusted higher in flight at a time that is ...
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6 votes

Suppose Zuma wasn't "lost" — what would it take to detect it?

There are other wavelengths than those discussed in this answer. On the off-chance that Zuma might broadcast data or telemetry, Canadian amateur astronomer Scott Tilley used a nice antenna and SDR to ...
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6 votes

How well could a satellite hide from Earth detection?

The answer to your question is classified. What is almost certain is that the USA launched stealth satellite in low Earth Orbit, so presumably it works well enough. These satellites were called MISTY ...
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  • 1,268
6 votes

What was the outcome of the launch of ZUMA by SpaceX, to the best of the public's knowledge?

SpaceX published a message from Gwynne Shotwell explaining that the first and second stage performed nominally and they cannot comment upon the status of a classified mission. Gwynne's statement, ...
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5 votes

What kind of payload is Mission 1390 (Zuma) going to launch?

There's really no way to know. There are a number of articles out there speculating, but there isn't a lot really known. What we do know is it was manufactured by Northrup Grumman, will enter Low ...
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  • 119k
5 votes
Accepted

What does it mean when a software is called open-source for US-release only?

Here is what the NASA Software FAQ says: The release type determines who can have a NASA software code. If you meet the access criteria for the code (as defined below), NASA can transfer the ...
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  • 23.6k
5 votes
Accepted

How well could a satellite hide from Earth detection?

There are basically 3 means of tracking satellites: Radar- Can hide from this, see anything about stealth aircraft out there (Same principals) Visible- To hide from visible, it would basically be ...
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  • 119k
3 votes

What kind of payload is Mission 1390 (Zuma) going to launch?

update: apparently there will indeed be a Zuma launch: https://spaceflightnow.com/2018/01/02/falcon-9-zuma-mission-status-center-2/ https://arstechnica.com/science/2018/01/spacex-will-try-to-launch-...
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