- Spy satellite
A spy satellite (officially referred to as a reconnaissance satellite) is an
Earth observation satelliteor communications satellitedeployed for militaryor intelligence applications. The first generation type (i.e. Corona [ [http://www.nro.gov/corona/facts.html Corona page at NRO] ] [ [http://samadhi.jpl.nasa.gov/msl/Programs/corona.html Corona page at NASA] ] and Zenit) took photographs then ejected canisters of photographic film, which would descend to earth. Corona capsules were retrieved in mid-air as they floated down on parachutes. Later spacecraft had digital imaging systems and downloaded the images via encrypted radio links.
United States, most information available is on programs that existed up to 1972. Some information about programs prior to that time are still classified, and a small trickle of information is available on subsequent missions. A few up-to-date reconnaissance satellite images have been declassified on occasion, or leaked, as in the case of KH-11photographs which were sent to " Jane's Defence Weekly" in 1985.
March 16, 1955, the United States Air Forceofficially ordered the development of an advanced reconnaissance satellite to provide continuous surveillance of “preselected areas of the earth” in order “to determine the status of a potential enemy’s war-making capability.” [cite book | title = Into the Unknown Together - The DOD, NASA, and Early Spaceflight
last = Erickson | first = Mark | isbn = 1-58566-140-6 | url = http://aupress.au.af.mil/Books/Erickson/erickson.pdf ] In October 1957, the Russians launched Sputnik. It was the first man made object to be put into space.
Examples of reconnaissance satellite missions:
* High resolution photography (
* Measurement and Signature Intelligence (
* Communications eavesdropping (
* Covert communications
* Monitoring of nuclear test ban compliance (see
National Technical Means)
* Detection of missile launches
Naval Ocean Surveillance System
* Air Force Geosynchronous SIGINT:
* Lacrosse/Onyx (
Key Hole(KH) series of imaging satellites:
(*) Although there is much speculation concerning imaging resolution, any optical system is limited by
diffraction. For example, a satellite with a 4 m telescope at an orbit of 600 km has a diffraction limited resolution of 10 cm at 550nm (green light), so it certainly cannot read a license plate. Other effects such as an inhomogeneous atmosphere further degrade resolution. The apogee of a typical filming mission would have been close to 100 km (~62 miles). Using the above calculation the resolution would have been less than 2 cm (<1 inch).
RORSAT(under cover of Cosmos series) [ [http://www.astronautix.com/project/rorsat.htm Rorsat - Encyclopedia Astronautica] ] . Radartype powered by Topaz nuclear reactors.
Fanhui Shi Weixing
** SAR-Lupe 1
** SAR-Lupe 2
** SAR-Lupe 3
** SAR-Lupe 4
** SAR-Lupe 5
Helios 1B(destroyed), Helios 2A
* Zircon (cancelled in 1987)
Technology Experiment Satellite
Cartosat 2A(Launched on April 28, 2008)
Mesbah(ready for launch)
Information Gathering Satellite
DesertSat(planned end of 2007)
** Türk Gölgesi 1
** Türk Gölgesi 2
** Türk Gölgesi 3
** Other classified programs
** Gokturk-1 (Co-production planned with either Israel, US, Italy or Germany, 0.8m resolution, integration with National UAV's, Turkish Navy and Air Force)
** Gokturk-2 (2m resolution, production started at Turkish Aerospace Industries)
Spy satellites are commonly seen in
spy fictionand military fiction. Some works of fiction that focus specifically on spy satellites include:
The OMAC Project"
Enemy of the State (film)"
Ice Station Zebra"
National Reconnaissance Office
Defense Support Program
European Union Satellite Centre
List of intelligence gathering disciplines
* [http://liftoff.msfc.nasa.gov/realtime/jtrack/3d/JTrack3d.html Java 3D satellite tracker]
* [http://www.globalsecurity.org/space/systems/imint.htm GlobalSecurity.org: Imagery Intelligence]
* [http://www.isracast.com/transcripts/230905b_trans.htm Iran to Launch first spy satellite]
* [http://rst.gsfc.nasa.gov/ Military Intelligence Satellites] (NASA, remote sensing tutorial)
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