Sunday, 3 February 2008

How USA 193 rocked this blog

Last week has been an amazing week for this blog. While normally only some 10 geeks a day follow my reports in this rather esoteric journal blog, the web traffic sky-rocketed after the imminent USA 193 spy satellite decay became a hot news item, and my post with backgrounds on the satellite became an often consulted link. These graphics of my web traffic the past week show the surge in readers:

It all started when I privately answered a question about the decay that was posted by someone in the Satobs mailing list of satellite observers. My answer was then integrally quoted in one of the comments to the story on Slashdot, mentioning my name as the source. As a result, people started to Google for me. So I put up some pertinent info on this blog, to satisfy their curiosity. Next this blog post of mine was linked by someone as a primary external link in the Wikipedia entry on USA 193. All kinds of internet fora picked up the URL too (both serious fora as well as those of the tin foil hat brigade). The result was a peak in activity that is unique in the history of my blog.

The web statistics for these days contain some interesting hits, from interesting IP's. For example:

* The NSA ended up on my blog, apparently after Googling for info on their own satellite;

* An IP from the US Department of State repeatedly visited over the course of several days;

* An IP from the Sergeant at Arms of the US Senate;

* Various IP's of the US DoD and other US military related IP's, as well as various IP's from the defense industry.

After that NSA visit, I sent a joking e-mail to some friends that I was on the watch for black helicopters, and that in case they should suddenly lose contact with me, they should send some clean underwear to Guantanamo.... :-p

On Monday the 28th of January I was interviewed (together with Prof. Ambrosius of the TU Delft) about the decay by the science program "Hoe?Zo!" of the Dutch educational broadcaster TELEAC on the Dutch national Radio 5 channel. For those who master the Dutch language, an MP3 recording (58 Mb) of the broadcast can be found here. The 8-minute item on USA 193 starts at 9m15s in the broadcast.


Aaron the Wise-Guy said...

Well, the NSA and the State Department looking your blog up? I wouldnt worry about the Seargent-At-Arms though, he was probably just bored!

If I'm at all lucky, it will survive re-entry and crash near where I live (rural Western Australia) in which case I'll cut it up and put the pieces on ebay.

Anonymous said...

You mention the hit from the NSA you say "The NSA ended up on my blog, apparently after Googling for info on their own satellite"

All the public information says this is a RADSAT (or at the least a radar/optical imaging sat) not a SIGINT sat.

So it would be owned and run by the NRO not the NSA.