09:08 GMT +320 October 2019
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    ESA Publishes Russia-Provided Data on Location of Secret US Satellites

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    MOSCOW (Sputnik) - The European Space Agency (ESA) has published information on the location of secret US reconnaissance satellites in geostationary orbit using data provided by Russian research centres.

    According to a status report on geosynchronous objects as of January 1, 2019, based on orbital data in ESA’s DISCOS database and on orbital data provided by Russia's JSC Vimpel Interstate Corporation, the Keldysh Institute for Applied Mathematics (KIAM) and JSC Astronomical Scientific Center, out of 1578 objects for which orbital data are available, 529 are actively controlled, 831 are drifting above, below or through GEO, 195 are in a libration orbit and 21 are in a highly inclined orbit.

    In particular, the ESA document pinpoints the location of secret US satellites in geostationary orbit, including GSSAP, Orion, Mercury and CLIO, which have not been catalogued by USSTRATCOM.

    According to various sources, the GSSAP satellites are designed to drift above and below the GEO belt, using electro-optical sensors to collect information on satellites and other objects in that region, while the other three are focused on conducting communications intelligence and intercepting missile telemetry.

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