Re: Article claims OTV-2 spying in Tiangong-1

From: Bob Christy (
Date: Fri Jan 06 2012 - 12:51:03 UTC

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    The orbits of X37B/OTV-2 are very similar in altitude and inclination. 
    The difference of RAAN has changed slowly from 98 to 100 during the 
    lifetime of Tiangong 1. Which means that their trajectories meet at a 
    very high angle - not exactly satellite inspection grade! The angle of 
    interception is so great that the same effect could have been engineered 
    from a large range of inclinations for OTV-2.
    Bear in mind that OTV-2 was launched first.
    Do we also believe that the USAF had advance knowledge that the 
    Tiangong/Shenzhou 8 mission would be at a subtly different inclnation 
    from previous missions - 42.8 rather than 42.4?
    The story originates from the British Interplanetary Society magazine as 
    a "scoop" but totally ignores the RAAN issue. Unfortunately it was taken 
    at face value by BBC News and that is how it spread. The BIS has openly 
    stated in an e-mail to all members that it intends to raise 
    "controversial issues" in order to increase membership, and hence income.
    Bob Christy
    Seesat-l mailing list

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