[FPSPACE] Special Announcement of a New Publication

IVANOVICH Grujica (SW) grujica.ivanovich at ergon.com.au
Mon Jul 3 18:09:44 EDT 2017


Thanks Peter and congratulations on this outstanding achievement.
It is impressive how much the US intelligent services had managed to obtain data about early Soviet space programmes.

Thank you again.

Regards,
Grujica

Sent from my iPhone

On 03/07/2017, at 9:56 PM, "Peter Pesavento" <pjp961 at svol.net<mailto:pjp961 at svol.net>> wrote:

Greetings Everyone.

The latest issue of the British Interplanetary Society periodical “Space Chronicle” is scheduled to publish in mid-July, and contains an article I wrote.  This will be Volume 70, Supplement 2, 2017.

Its overall title is:

Lifting the Veil, Part 2:  Further Declassification Disclosures Reveal What US Intelligence Knew about the Soviet Space Program During the Space Race

It is the first part of a multi-part serialization on the theme of what the US intelligence community knew contemporaneously about events during the Space Race between the USSR and USA, from the 1950s up through the early 1970s.

In my view, there are two parts to the Soviet/Russian space history chronology. There is the Russian historical canon segment, and there is also the American intelligence-community-perspective side of the Soviet space story.  You might call them “the US pieces of the Soviet Puzzle.”

Much of what historians and historiographers have in hand comes from Russian published sources, as well it should.  But until recently, the historical canon on what the Americans knew about the Soviet space program was quite spotty at best.  Too much of the information in hand was either heavily redacted, or unavailable in declassified format.

This multi-part article is an extended overview of some of the contemporaneous results to fill in the gaps (and highlight the resulting document acquisitions) on the American side of the record, as to what the USSR space activities were, and how they were executed.

Readers will notice that the newly disclosed American record about Soviet space events covered in this article serialization much of the time substantially diverges from the Russian historical canon, and many current Russian disclosures.  Elsewhere, the US historical canon amplifies (at times, very extensively) upon what Russian-sourced histories currently reveal.

Why the divergence?  There are no doubt a number of reasons.  For me, I personally think it is (in very large part) because of the fact that there are many “memory holes” in the Russian space history telling, and some of the time the Russians were not very good record-keepers of their own statistics.  Other adjunct factors include Russian secrecy rules still “on the books,” as well as bureaucratic intransigence towards the idea of broad-spectrum declassification of old materials—while those accurate records remain locked away in filing cabinets in basements of engineering collectives that rarely have visitors.

Indeed, US records about Soviet space activities (as can be seen via the declassified documentation) were very exacting and precise, a reflection of the overall applied meticulousness, as well professional analysis and interpretation.  As readers will see in Part 1 (and in the other upcoming serialized segments), the US IC analysts even corrected Soviet press announcements as to timing benchmarks (when something arrived in orbit, impacted or landed on the lunar surface, returned to Earth, etc.), cosmonaut activities (disclosed and undisclosed), spacecraft mission highlights (achievements claimed and unclaimed), and so on.  The materials were gathered with a spectrum of techniques—among them telemetry intercepts, communications intercepts, radar returns, seismographic and infrasound information, satellite remote sensing, as well as “good ol’ five fingers and eyeballs” acquisitions (human intelligence sources).

The reason for all this effort at meticulousness is that the US analysts had to strive to be very sure.  As sure as they could be. The USA’s safety and security were riding on their assessments.  The amount of uncertainty had to be reduced to as close to insignificance (near to zero) as they could possibly make it.  A great deal of the time, this was reasonably achieved; and sometimes, no.

One can ask whether the US IC got things wrong.  Yes, at times they did. But never as often as those things that the US analysts got right.  Indeed, in regards to Soviet space and other high-tech endeavors, the ratio seems to be—based on my personal reading of thousands of declassified documentation examples—roughly near 90%+ correct and less than 10% incorrect.

And I think that this is a pretty good result, considering the penchant of Soviet officials and media outlets to be secretive and misleading in trend during the Cold War.

However, based on my own reading of declassified materials, the noted mistakes were due much less to misinterpretation of intelligence-intercepted information (that, on occasion, could cause error), but rather from the effort to derive intent and purpose, as well as from attempting to figure out Soviet policy trends (and goals) for upcoming time swaths of interest.

Bear in mind that some US prognostications were based on (at times) sparse “dots on the graph” (keep in mind what intelligence documents are supposed to do—estimate where things will be in “X” (weeks, months or years) time frame from now—which top level decision makers in the US government need so they can make the proper policy decisions).  Other erroneous conclusions came from attempting to analogize Soviet processes of experimentation/engineering pathways of application with those trends found in the US experiential base.  But even here, when new, superceding information was gathered by US IC analysts, the old misinterpretations were thrown out fairly quickly, and the new, more accurate ones put in their place.

I hope that space historians can now begin--with the aid of these new declassified materials--what I term the attempt to “reconcile” the two historical canons.  Where there are pieces missing in one narrative, these can be found in the other.  And where there remains missing segments in both canons, this will be an opportunity to conduct further research.

In addition to the all-new disclosures from declassified documentation, the overall piece includes graphics/illustrations never before published in an open-sourced publication.  Indeed, there are significant illustration contributions from Russian sources as well, in particular materials from personal scrapbooks.   Among such materials in Part 1, for example,  are the video transmits from orbit of the first manned Voskhod mission.

I should also add here that this article serialization can be viewed as the “current, yet interim” report on what declassification has revealed.  Currently, I have pending more than 200 Mandatory Declassification Review (or MDR, these are not FOIA) cases, of which approximately 100 are currently with the Inter-Agency Security Classification Appeals Panel (ISCAP), the final arbiter (kind of like the Supreme Court of declassification for the US Government, and they are located in Washington, DC) of what gets released.  So over time, more information on Soviet space activities will be forthcoming. The total number of documents in these cases of mine undergoing appellate declassification review processing is probably in the neighborhood of close to 1,000 reports—give or take.

To preview the content of Part 1, here are the titles of the sections therein.  (There are also nine figures accompanying.)

1.0  A New Era of Soviet Space Historiography—Hard Won
2.0  Out of Secrecy Blackness, A Startling Mosaic of Unknown History—Rectifying Mistold Soviet Records and Histories
2.1  Ignoring the Signals:  NSA, Sputnik, and the (Neglected) Use of Soviet Communications Journals as Early Forewarning
2.2  Intercepting Video Transmissions of Laika from Sputnik 2—Contra-indicating Soviet Histories
2.3  New Data on Lunar Programs:  Luna 9 Dethroned, and Other Revelations from US Intelligence Records
2.4    Vostok/Voskhod, Soyuz, Manned Precursors, and “Number 20”
2.4.1  Vostok Monitoring—On the Ground, In the Ocean, Plus COMINT Revealing a Hitherto Unknown Psychological Crisis In Space in 1962
2.4.2  Voskhod and Cosmos 110 Disclosures Revise Mission Histories
2.4.3   Soyuz 1 Revelations:  Biotelemetry Intercepts on State of Komarov’s Health; Hints Death Happened After Re-entry Interface; Ship Deployments Indicate Option Open to Fulfill Mission for Several Weeks Afterward; NSA Documentation Highlights COMINT
2.4.4   SIGINT Supremacy: What US IC Intercept Captures Told About Cosmoses 133 and 212

As I mentioned previously, keep in mind that additional serialized parts will be published by the BIS, and when those are “on the cusp” of appearing in print, I will provide updates.  The subject matter will include military themes, what the US IC knew about Soviet rocketry and space endeavors in the 1950s (this new material is an update of my “Before Sputnik” two-part paper that appeared 2010 and 2011), what Soviet space materials actually reached the daily notice of  the US Presidents, as well as further new documentation disclosures on the Soviet manned lunar projects.  In addition, there will be a few article side-bars that will contain disclosures on focused topics that are linked to subjects in the main text.

I hope that readers will find this article serialization informative and illuminating.

For those of you who wish to obtain print or electronic copies, please contact the BIS on their home Web page  http://www.bis-space.com/ , where they have instructions about how to order their publications.





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