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I keep seeing people claim that SBIRS HEO-1 USA-184 NROL-22 couldn’t have been the sat that captured the images of MH370. While that may still be the case for a number of other reasons, we should not take for granted the classified capabilities of these satellites.


Aviation Week, November 20, 2006 Issue originally published this article in print and online. The print version contains the image taken from HEO-1:


You can see a scan of the image from the print article in Aviation Week in this post here which discusses both images and their importance briefly:


An additional great breakdown that includes a GIF animation showing the layout of SBIRS that I found really useful:


An additional article from Aviation Week that includes both images from SBIRS HEO-1 and HEO-2:


The image taken from HEO-1 USA-184 NROL-22 and by extension USA-200 should be important to us because it is an actual image taken from the satellite we are concerned with in the MH370 case. We should try to find the highest quality version of them available.


I personally believe that this image is eye opening simply because its taken from one of the SBIRS HEO satellites in Molniya orbit. That sat is way out there and even the degraded, intentionally reduced quality version is insane:


All this is to say, SBIRS HEO and GEO are both capable of taking insane images of the Earth, not just the GEO sats. USA-184/NROL-22 can probably see the Earth a lot clearer than anyone expects.

submitted by /u/JunkTheRat
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