Re: "U" vs "C" vs ... in elsets

Phil Rogers (
Fri, 4 Jun 1999 23:29:07 -0400 wrote:
>     Some members of this group are either in the US government or work 
>     directly with it.  The use of "C" in the "classification designator" 
>     field presents us with a problem in that storing any elset with "C" or 
>     "S" in this field on an unclassified computer whould give the 
>     appearance of a security violation.  That's something we can't afford 
>     and wastes a lot of time to resolve. 
>     I support for Bill Bard's suggestion to use A for amateur, E for 
>     estimated, a P for comPuted, or a space character (ie just leave it 
>     blank).  Or something like that.
>     Jeff Barker

I couldn't agree with you more. Security is not something to be taken
lightly even if the government itself has shown that it has not done
such a good job of keeping its secrets at home. At best, it is childish
for some individuals to flaunt having information which they should not
have, to intentionally pass on such information or to bemoan the fact
that the military classifies certain material at their own discretion.
At worst it could be dangerous if information inadvertently tagged as
classified were to reach the hands of an inspector somewhere. If it
could not be proven to that inspector that such information was not in
fact classified then it could conceivably result in seizure of computers
of those who happened to receive it. This means all of us. The best way
to view security always has been and still is the manner in which it was
presented to the public during WWII... "Loose Lips Sinks Ships". (Jim Varney) wrote:
>Randy John is right: I used the 'C' instead of 'U' when computing the GPS 
>elsets to express the continuing humor I feel over the contradictory policy 
>of withholding elsets when highly precise orbital data is available 
>Anyway, my apologies to Rick von Glahn for breaking his Element Manager 
>program.  That certainly wasn't my intent!
>Allen raises a very good point -- I think it would be very useful to use 
>column 8 to differentiate between official NORAD elsets ("U") and those 
>that are calculated by Seesat folks.  Too bad "S" is taken.  S for "SeeSat- 
>produced elsets" would be a nice touch.
> -- Jim

Re: Para 1

It is their perogative to withold information which "they" feel to
potentially be sensitive and "their" criteria by which such judgment is
made regardless of what information is to be found elsewhere. In a more
ideal world where people do not inherently become adamant to see what is
hidden from them, perhaps those who determine what is made public and
what is not might tend to be more relaxed in their evaluations.

Re: the rest

Indeed "S" would fit nicely with SEESAT but Jeff Barker's suggestions of
"A", "E" or "P",  might be even more fitting. Actually, there exists and
even better means of identifying an elset's computational source... an
elset parameter which was designed for just such a purpose. The
ephemeris type, that lonely digit at the end of line 1 between the drag
term and the bulletin number is that parameter. If I remember correctly,
it is used to specify the orbital model used in the computation of the
elset. NORAD is the only source which outputs elsets with an ET of zero
because they alone use the special perturbations orbital model which it
designates. The elsets originated by the radars where I worked were all
tagged with an ET of 5 which specifies that they were generated using
the SGP4 model. Indeed it is actually a misdesignation for elsets
originating in this group of users, whether by a true data fit plus
elset generation, or by hack, chop and estimate adjustments to individual
terms to remain tagged as ET zero simply because they are not generated
using NORAD's orbital model. If there happens to be an unassigned digit
value for the ephemeris type field, then this could serve as an ideal
designation for elsets originating from SEESAT sources. I retired from
the world of radar 5 years ago and no longer have access to the NORAD
manuals to verify which values of ET are used, but perhaps someone else
who is still in the business and still has access to these manuals
could look this point up to determine which values are available to be

Phil Rogers