Thursday, April 10, 2014

Eagle Eyes

Recently I posted a topic on USA 184, one of the SBIRS-HEO satellites. That post was illustrated with amongst others this patch:

click image to enlarge

A sharp eyed reader, graphic designer and illustrator Olivier Rossel (PXP), noted something odd in the patch. More exactly, in the bothom "beard" of feathers of the Eagle's head.

I had not noted it until Olivier pointed it out (and it is so obvious now!), but letters are spelled out there:

(image courtesy of Olivier Rossel)

You can read the words "GEO", "DSP" and "HEO". These are all relevant to the US Infrared Early Warning system. SBIRS has satellites in two kind of orbits: GEO (geosynchronous) and HEO (Highly Elliptical Orbit - see my earlier post). DSP is the Defense Support Program, the predecessor of the newer SBIRS, consisting of a number of satellites in GEO.

Some Russian guy, Ivan Karavay, identified the words earlier in a post in this forum (in Russian) but I had never seen it until Olivier pointed it out to me.This while I knew words are sometimes hidden in NRO-related patches. Take these patches for example, from the NRO launches NROL-25, NROL-34, NROL-41 and NROL-49:

click images to enlarge

In the "vermicelli" that fills in the Earth in these patches, letters can be discerned that sometimes solve into acronyms: "4 SLS" (4th Space Launch Squadron),  NRO or NROL, and other letter combinations that are less easy to interpret.

Speaking of logo's and patches: I recently re-designed the logo of SatTrackCam. The new design is based on the older design but less cluttered:

click image to enlarge

Like in NRO patches, there is some coded information in this design: the Coat of Arms for example has a double meaning. The (pig-) Latin actually refers to a notorious NRO patch, as well as a famous internet meme.

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