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

Jim Varney (
Sat, 5 Jun 1999 13:29:50 -0700 (PDT)

On 4 Jun 99, Phil Rogers wrote:

> 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"
> >     "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 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.

I'll try to keep my rebuttal short, as it is close to off-topic.

I respect your position even though I don't agree with it.  A democracy 
works best when informed citizens make the government accountable for 
itself by exposing the government's mistakes. That's not childishness.
It's civic participation.

I believe that satellites in the visual realm are astronomical objects. I
also believe that the catalogs and positions of all astronomical objects
should have free and open distribution. Therefore I applaud the efforts of
the observers and elset maintainers on this list who publish the elsets of
objects that would otherwise be unavailable.

Elset suppression has nothing to with national security. Not when every 
nation on earth has at least a pair of binoculars and a PC and could do
the same tracking as we do if they wanted to. Elset suppression is strictly a
bureaucratic self-serving exercise. This is evident by SPACECOM calling
the elsets "official use only" -- even they can't bring themselves to calling
them "classified."

Now if the use of "C" in my GPS elsets truly causes a problem for 
SeeSatters, I will be happy to change the code. I have a hard time 
believing, however, this scenario of an auditor confiscating computers.
The real issue isn't the U or C -- it's the elset itself. I would think an 
auditor would want to know why you have Lacrosse elsets on your PC, 
regardless of whether they say U or C.

 -- Jim
Jim Varney        -121.398 W, 38.457 N, 10m
Member, Sacramento Valley Astronomical Society
GPS Elsets

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