Twitter user @d0tslash was watching news helicopter footage of the BLM protests on the 28th of May when he heard something that sounded like an RF telemetry feed in the background audio on the helicopter's video feed. Having seen this previous success at decoding similar helicopter telemetry, he contacted his friend proto17 who proceeded to reverse engineer and figure out how to decode the telemetry, in the end discovering that it was providing location data for the helicopter.
Finally he used some clever terminal tricks and a Python script to discover the bit pattern and convert the bits into ASCII characters which reveals the helicopter coordinates. The coordinates decoded indicate that the helicopter was indeed circling the protest area.
We looked into the news helicopters in use during the protests and found that Denver news stations all share one helicopter with registration N6UX. Plugging that into adsbexchange.com and looking at the helicopter ADS-B history on the 28th gives a good match to proto17's decoded data.
It is well known that the NOAA satellites broadcast weather satellite images which can be received and displayed with an RTL-SDR and computer. What is less known is that there is a telemetry beacon that is also transmitted by the same satellites. The telemetry not only contains data such as the current spacecraft time, day and ID, but also contains scientific data from on board instruments such as:
The HIRS/3 and HIRS/4 instruments which is a high resolution infrared sounder which can be used to create a low resolution multi-spectral scan of the earth. (more info)
The Space Environment Monitor (SEM-2) which has a Medium Energy Proton and Electron Detector (MEPED), and a Total Energy Detector (TED). This experiment is used to measure the effect of the sun on satellite communications. (more info)
The experimental DCS/2 transmitter which retransmits signals from 401.65 MHz sea buoys, arctic fox collars, sea ice monitors, weather balloons and more. (more info pdf)
The ARGOS Advanced Data Collection System (ADCS) which amongst other uses is used in research for tracking animal GPS collars around the world.
Recently, the FUNcube-1 satellite was successfully launched. The FUNcube is a CubeSat (a low cost miniature 10cm cube sized satellite) which is intended mainly for educating young people about radio, space, physics and electronics, but has also piqued the interest of amateur radio hobbyists.