Monday, May 17, 2010

So Much to Say, So Little Time

THE GOOD-BYE MAN chapters will hold at #25 for a while, but if I were to continue with my suppositions about Townsend's activities in years covered by these chapters, I would say that upon completing his obligations to the Navy's Vanguard Program, he next brought his noted "radar detection" expertise to the development of  GRAB, perhaps the very first satellite designed for Space-based Electronic Intelligence (ELINT)gathering.

This ELINT satellite system was proposed by NRL in the spring of 1958. In parallel with exploratory development by NRL, the Office of Naval Intelligence obtained endorsements endorsements of Project Tattletale from elements of the executive and legislative branches of the US government. With positive recommendations from the Department of State, the Department of Defense, and the Central Intelligence Agency, President Eisenhower approved full development on 24 August 1959. By then, the project had been placed under a tight security control system (Canes) with access limited to fewer than 200 officials in the Washington, DC area. Development and interagency coordination proceeded as the GRAB (Galactic RAdiation and Background) experiment. 

The NRL Naval Center for Space Technology [NCST] designed and built the GRAB satellite and a network of overseas data collection facilities. The first launch was approved by President Eisenhower in May 1960, just four days after a CIA U-2 aircraft was lost on a reconnaissance mission over Soviet territory. The GRAB satellite got a free ride into space in June 1960 with the Navy's third Transit navigation satellite. GRAB carried two electronic payloads, the classified ELINT package and instrumentation to measure solar radiation (SolRad). The SolRad experiment was publicly disclosed in DoD press releases on this and subsequent launches. Four more launches were attempted, and one was successful on 29 June 1961.

And on another note, we have recently been talking about advances in artificial intelligence over at the Hut, it tickled me to encounter this cybernetic question/koan over at Intangible Materiality this morning:

"Do Androids dream of electric sheep?"

I'm now inspired to write a new guidebook: Buddhism for Androids: What is the sound of one gate closing?


Anonymous said...

Two must-reads: the original book Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep, by Philip K. Dick. And then the gut-bustingly funny homage, by John Scalzi The Android's Dream.


A Rose by any other name... said...

Thanks, R. Your recommendations are always top notch. I'm squirreling these away for some future year when I am reading for pleasure again!