Spy Satellite to Spy on Spy Satellites?

June 12th, 2017 by Roy W. Spencer, Ph. D.

The May 1 Space-X launch of a classified satellite mission was considered very unusual after amateur satellite watchers realized it was being put into the same orbit as the International Space Station (ISS).

(ISS resupply missions aren’t classified.)

We now know that not only was “USA 276” put into the same orbit, but it actually buzzed the ISS as it gradually “orbited” around the space station.

Here’s a simulation from the SatTrackCam blog, showing the new spy satellite just outside the box representing the safe distance for objects to pass near the ISS without an orbital avoidance maneuver:

SatTrackCam blog simulation of the close approach of USA 276 to the International Space Station on June 3, 2017.

Over time, the spy satellite then circled the ISS, just several kilometers away.

This does not happen by accident. To accomplish this you have to launch the satellite into a precise orbit with the same altitude and inclination angle with the equator. Then, you have to use on-board propulsion to fine tune the orbit and “catch up” to the ISS. To then “orbit” the ISS at a safe distance is even trickier.

So, what could this classified mission of USA 276 be?

The most logical explanation is that DoD is testing a capability to rendezvous with and spy on spy satellites, up close and personal. Such a capability would no doubt include high resolution imagers, electronic surveillance, and whatever else they can think of to investigate other countrys’ spy satellites and better figure out what they are doing up there.

63 Responses to “Spy Satellite to Spy on Spy Satellites?”

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  1. Dean Paul says:

    What’s that Musky smell?

  2. Why waste millions of dollars just to test a satellite? Consider than many countries with spy agencies of their own contributed to the ISS, so some of these devices and astronauts may be using the station for their own spying operations, piggybacking on so-called science missions. Who mostly paid for all this? The world’s largest sucker, Uncle Sam.

    • Ric Werme says:

      So the first mission for something with untested or calibrated technology should be to a Chinese satellite with an orbital inclination that reaches northern US?

      Don’t forget – there are Russians on the ISS too. I wouldn’t be surprised if they’re interested in Chinese satellites too. 🙂 They’re too broke now to fully staff the ISS, so they’re glad to have the US pay for getting our personnel up to the ISS.

      • Tom O says:

        Tell me Ric, do you really think Uncle Sam pays in advance for Russian rockets to be built for his use? And what koolaid do you drink that makes you think the Russians can’t afford a space program without our paying for it? They make the boosters we use to put our satellites in orbit, and they make the boosters that launch the supplies to the ISS and they make the boosters that send and retrieve astronauts, as well as maintain the hardware to do it. And their debt to GDP ratio is about 5% while ours is near 100%. Just because we print dollars that buy pennies worth of products doesn’t mean we are rich any more.

        • Mel says:

          What is your GDP? Where does it rank? What is the world’s currency?

          • bob sykes says:

            Despite claims that Russia’s GDP is on the order of Spain’s, it is obvious that it must be on the order of Germany’s or Japan’s, or even larger, perhaps number three after Cina’s.

  3. g*e*r*a*n says:

    This satellite was apparently launched May 1st, from Kennedy Space Center.

  4. Gray Guyfield says:

    Satellites don’t exhist, Musk is the biggest con man ever known. Musk is another zero without government welfare from crooked politicians🐰.

  5. Rick A Hyatt says:

    Has this something to do with what I saw last evening. I get emails as to when it’s passing over and visible and last night for the first time it seemed very erratic, even changing direction from left to right at times. Or was the other object simply a light distraction?

    • Ric Werme says:

      The new satellite is reported to be about magnitude 3, much dimmer than the ISS. And it should be far, far away by now. My guess is you were seeing the effect of an unstable atmosphere.

  6. Field effect propulsion would be reason enough to test. Most everything else seems to be ‘free falling’ while powered space flight, other than chemical rockets, is far less common.

  7. staub says:

    Satellites are on high altitude balloons at best and U2 is used.They are not in the nose cone of rockets. Regardless they are not what we are made to believe they are. Roy Spencer is a liar and global warming is a doomsday cult. All of this is coming out fast they are caught.

  8. Denver says:

    “Spy Satellite to Spy on Spy Satellites?” = good.

    Spy satellites to kill Spy Satellites = better

  9. David Russell Foley says:

    How do they guard the satellites against birdstrikes?

    • jimc says:

      The satellites emit predator bird calls (of owls at night, and hawks in daylight). I understand that in the eerie silence of space, theyre really quite terrifying, and travel long distances which helps given the satellites speed.

    • jimc says:

      The Chinese satellites however deploy loud fireworks to accomplish the same. Russian satellites are made of cast iron, so they don’t have the problem.

  10. noleksum says:

    Heres a simulation from the SatTrackCam blog, showing the new spy satellite just outside the box representing the safe distance for objects to pass near the ISS without an orbital avoidance maneuver:

    Unfortunately a simulation is all that is needed to satisfy the majority. Elon the Fraud did say the odds are we are living in a simulation.

    Spy satellite on spy satellite. How about more BS on a gigantic pile of BS.

  11. jim says:

    NASA has on their own website has the temperature cooling:\

  12. BlackFrank says:

    Would not be surprised if the ultimate objective is to get close and drop off a few small, stealthy space mines. The mines could use reaction wheels and/or tiny thrusters to very gradually insinuate themselves next to the orbiting assets of adversaries, and await a coded signal to trigger detonation.

    Even if WE aren’t placing mines (yet), we definitely should be wary of it being done to our assets.

    FYI, the flat earthers are mostly deep state bots running a psyop, intended to discredit Red Pill tendencies and basically anyone who dares think out of the global corporate syndicate-approved box.

    • lewis says:

      You all miss the object of this project.

      It is to spend other’s (taxpayers) money in a exercise designed solely to entertain those spending the money. The comments here verify this in that many are trying to find a rational (reasonable) reason for the expenditure. Bah! It’s government. It’s someone else’s (your) money. They don’t care. They waste. If you complain they persecute you – with the help of the MSM.

  13. Thomas Kopper says:

    What was the mini shuttle doing all those months in space? Placing explosives on our enemies satellites?

  14. mike says:

    BS. EVERY TIME the send a capsuel, cargo, etc up to the space station…. they do the same thing…. put it into an orbit to ‘get close’ to the ISS, and “maneuver to fine tune”….

    this as been going on for decades. the lunar lander did the same thing. 1969

  15. Bob Lang says:

    This is old news. Anyone capable of critical thinking could have concluded this when news broke that the X37b had a Hall Thruster on board so it could hop from one satellite to another. And the fact that it was orbiting for such amount of time would conclude that also.

  16. Reggie says:

    Enemy satellites could contain more than just surveillance gear. It’s possible that a few of them might contain weapons. If so, the most dangerous kinds of weapons would be detectable and perhaps even identifiable from a moderate distance away. It would make sense to have some way to check for these.

  17. Reggie says:

    I wouldn’t rule out that this maneuver might have been for the ISS cameras to visually inspect the new satelite.

  18. stonehillady says:

    This all a bunch of hot air, there are no satellites, they are balloons, how can they be in the upper thermosphere, we don’t have any metals that can with stand 3600 degress ?
    The Earth is not spinning on a globe going 1000 mph. going an axis, then around the sun another 67,000 mph. and spinning in the universe another million mph. this is just lunacy. Sold to ya like Santa Claus was sold to ya. The EARTH is FLAT ! So much proof is going against the globalist it is becoming an embarrassment to them. Wake Up, hard to believe at first, but study it, you then finally trust your own eyes, your math and most of all realize they have lied to us to take us away from the true God, and his true book, the bible which refers to the earth as a fixed place protected with a firmament.

  19. John says:

    Where can I get more information on this flat earth society I’m really getting excited about the possibility that we didn’t even go to the moon.

  20. Mike Flynn says:

    “. . . and whatever else they can think of to investigate other countrys spy satellites and better figure out what they are doing up there.”



  21. E. Swanson says:

    The ISS has no weapons on board (that we know of). So, it’s a sitting duck, so to speak, easily attacked by an anti-satellite weapon. So, adding a defensive weapon to another satellite in near identical orbit would give some measure of assurance that some nation with evil intent (N. Korea?) would not be able to attack the ISS with impunity. Rather like Ronnie Ray Gun’s old “Star Wars” proposal to orbit many “battle stations” providing constant coverage of the Soviet Union to attack ICBM’s during boost phase soon after launch. For the defense of a single vulnerable target against a few attacking missiles, such a plan might actually work.

    • barry says:

      Hard to imagine a scenario where the ISS would be a target. For now, NK missiles can’t reach even the US.

      • Flyr says:

        The Obama administration constantly went with the line that North Korea did not have the capability to lunch an ICBM attack which was probably true but irrevelant. They have proven the ability to launch satellites and they have proven the ability to build effective nuclear weapons. In fact they put a satellite in the

    • Reggie says:

      The one weapon on the ISS is the handgun aboard the Soyuz module. This is included primarily for personal protection in the wilderness areas where the module lands.

  22. barry says:

    Can’t tell if the putative flat-earthers here are being funny or sincere. That’s the problem with such lunacy. Sarc and the real thing are hard to tell apart.

    • Walter Dnes says:

      This is Poe’s Law in action https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Poe%27s_law

      Poe’s law is an adage of Internet culture that states that, without a clear indicator of the author’s intent, it is impossible to create a parody of extreme views so obviously exaggerated that it cannot be mistaken by some readers or viewers as a sincere expression of the parodied views.

  23. Gordon Robertson says:

    It’s probably NOAA trying to find ways to reprogram the sats to bring their data output in line with their fudged surface data.

  24. Flyr says:

    The most Urgent need is to be able to examine and destroy satellites which could be Equipped with nuclear weapons For an EMP attack

  25. lewis says:

    Could be delivering beer.

  26. John Moore says:

    Two possible explanations:

    1) Since the satellite’s maneuvers would be detected, this may be a signal to, say, North Korea, that the US can get up close and personal with satellites. With the risk of North Korea putting an nuclear weapon for EMP in a satellite, this is even more interesting: https://pjmedia.com/trending/2017/06/06/emp-commission-chair-warns-on-north-korean-emp/

    2) They could be using the ISS’s sensors to validate how well the satellite is able to maneuver. I put this at lower probability, since the satellite probably has good sensors itself.

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