Play Video
1
CIA Corona Satellites - Spy Satellites - documentary
CIA Corona Satellites - Spy Satellites - documentary
::2012/12/09::
Play Video
2
U.S. spy satellite launched into space
U.S. spy satellite launched into space
::2013/08/28::
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3
Israeli Reconnaissance Satellite Launched
Israeli Reconnaissance Satellite Launched
::2008/02/03::
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4
First Spy Satellites: "Corona Project Overview" 1995 National Reconnaissance Office
First Spy Satellites: "Corona Project Overview" 1995 National Reconnaissance Office
::2011/12/30::
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5
Delta IV Heavy blasts off with NROL-65 reconnaissance satellite
Delta IV Heavy blasts off with NROL-65 reconnaissance satellite
::2013/08/28::
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6
Development of CORONA, The World
Development of CORONA, The World's First Reconnaissance Satellite
::2012/12/13::
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7
A Point in Time: The Corona Story - 1960
A Point in Time: The Corona Story - 1960's CIA Spy Satellite Educational Documentary - WDTVLIVE42
::2012/10/09::
Play Video
8
Launch of Ofeq 9 - Israeli reconnaissance satellite
Launch of Ofeq 9 - Israeli reconnaissance satellite
::2010/06/23::
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9
israeli tecsar reconnaissance satellite launched
israeli tecsar reconnaissance satellite launched
::2008/01/23::
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10
NROL-65 reconnaissance satellite launch
NROL-65 reconnaissance satellite launch
::2013/09/15::
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11
[Atlas V 401] rocket launches NROL-38 Reconnaissance Satellite for NRO
[Atlas V 401] rocket launches NROL-38 Reconnaissance Satellite for NRO
::2013/07/13::
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12
KSP - VTOL Fighter Destroys Spy Satellite
KSP - VTOL Fighter Destroys Spy Satellite
::2013/02/05::
Play Video
13
Satellite Reconnaissance: Secret Eyes in Space
Satellite Reconnaissance: Secret Eyes in Space
::2011/04/03::
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14
US Launches World
US Launches World's Largest Spy Satellite
::2010/11/23::
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15
Secret Next Generations U.S. Spy Satellite Launched
Secret Next Generations U.S. Spy Satellite Launched
::2014/04/16::
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16
Reconnaissance satellites now on display!
Reconnaissance satellites now on display!
::2012/02/29::
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17
Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Fourth Anniversary
Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Fourth Anniversary
::2013/06/24::
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18
US just launched secret next-gen spy satellite
US just launched secret next-gen spy satellite
::2014/04/16::
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19
Corona KH-1 Spy Satellite "Discoverer 5" Launch 1959-08-13 Vandenberg AFB Thor-Agena
Corona KH-1 Spy Satellite "Discoverer 5" Launch 1959-08-13 Vandenberg AFB Thor-Agena
::2011/11/18::
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20
US Satellite Reconnaissance. Peek-A-Boo!
US Satellite Reconnaissance. Peek-A-Boo!
::2008/08/13::
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21
Just Declassified: Spy Satellite Gambit
Just Declassified: Spy Satellite Gambit
::2011/09/20::
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22
HEXAGON - Sentinel Of Liberty
HEXAGON - Sentinel Of Liberty
::2012/02/01::
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23
Near Miss - Dead Russian Spy Satellite Forces NASA Probe Move | Video
Near Miss - Dead Russian Spy Satellite Forces NASA Probe Move | Video
::2013/05/01::
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24
U.S. United States Just Launched
U.S. United States Just Launched 'Spy Satellite On Secret Mission' Into Space! (GPS Camera)
::2014/05/25::
Play Video
25
Discovery Channel Spies Above Documentary Narrated by Gillian Anderson (1996)
Discovery Channel Spies Above Documentary Narrated by Gillian Anderson (1996)
::2014/05/23::
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26
Russian Satellite Destroys  "Nazi" UFO Over Colorado
Russian Satellite Destroys "Nazi" UFO Over Colorado
::2014/09/14::
Play Video
27
The Corona Story - A Point In Time
The Corona Story - A Point In Time
::2011/01/06::
Play Video
28
NROL-65 Mission
NROL-65 Mission
::2013/09/04::
Play Video
29
Ask an Expert -- The Corona Spy Satellite
Ask an Expert -- The Corona Spy Satellite
::2010/10/20::
Play Video
30
Israel launches spy satellite to boost information gathering on Iran
Israel launches spy satellite to boost information gathering on Iran
::2014/04/10::
Play Video
31
NASA | Mona Lisa on the Moon
NASA | Mona Lisa on the Moon
::2013/01/17::
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32
Defense Support Program - The Silent Sentry
Defense Support Program - The Silent Sentry
::2008/12/19::
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33
NASA Beams Mona Lisa to Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter at the Moon WWW.GOODNEWS.WS
NASA Beams Mona Lisa to Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter at the Moon WWW.GOODNEWS.WS
::2013/01/17::
Play Video
34
GAMBIT - The Eye Of The Eagle
GAMBIT - The Eye Of The Eagle
::2012/02/01::
Play Video
35
Atlas V Rocket Prep & Launch of Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) - Moon Orbit Satellite 2008
Atlas V Rocket Prep & Launch of Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) - Moon Orbit Satellite 2008
::2013/12/26::
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36
Atlas rocket blasts off with secret U.S. military satellite
Atlas rocket blasts off with secret U.S. military satellite
::2014/05/22::
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37
SAR-Lupe (subtitled)
SAR-Lupe (subtitled)
::2010/11/02::
Play Video
38
NOVA | NOVA Short | Inside a Soviet Spy Station
NOVA | NOVA Short | Inside a Soviet Spy Station
::2008/02/11::
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39
Lockheed U-2 Dragon Lady reconnaissance aircraft
Lockheed U-2 Dragon Lady reconnaissance aircraft
::2014/01/18::
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40
A Day In History: The Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter
A Day In History: The Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter
::2014/03/10::
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41
Titan 34D-9 with last KH-9 explodes after liftoff (18.4.86)
Titan 34D-9 with last KH-9 explodes after liftoff (18.4.86)
::2012/12/16::
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42
Giant secret satellite blasts off from Cape Canaveral.
Giant secret satellite blasts off from Cape Canaveral.
::2012/07/02::
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43
Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Apollo Landing Site Images 2011 NASA Goddard
Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Apollo Landing Site Images 2011 NASA Goddard
::2013/05/13::
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44
ATLAS V ROCKET LAUNCH TOWARDS MOON WITH LUNAR RECONNAISSANCE ORBITER AND LUNAR CRATER OBSERVATION AND SENSING SATELLITE   PART 6 OF 6
ATLAS V ROCKET LAUNCH TOWARDS MOON WITH LUNAR RECONNAISSANCE ORBITER AND LUNAR CRATER OBSERVATION AND SENSING SATELLITE PART 6 OF 6
::2009/06/27::
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45
Kerbal Space Program - Spy Satellite & ASAT Demonstration
Kerbal Space Program - Spy Satellite & ASAT Demonstration
::2013/01/18::
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46
STS-62-A: the Polar Express - Orbiter Space Flight Simulator
STS-62-A: the Polar Express - Orbiter Space Flight Simulator
::2011/12/10::
Play Video
47
ATLAS V ROCKET LAUNCH TOWARDS MOON WITH LUNAR RECONNAISSANCE ORBITER AND LUNAR CRATER OBSERVATION AND SENSING SATELLITE   PART 3 OF 6
ATLAS V ROCKET LAUNCH TOWARDS MOON WITH LUNAR RECONNAISSANCE ORBITER AND LUNAR CRATER OBSERVATION AND SENSING SATELLITE PART 3 OF 6
::2009/06/27::
Play Video
48
ATLAS V ROCKET LAUNCH TOWARDS MOON WITH LUNAR RECONNAISSANCE ORBITER AND LUNAR CRATER OBSERVATION AND SENSING SATELLITE   PART 2 OF 6
ATLAS V ROCKET LAUNCH TOWARDS MOON WITH LUNAR RECONNAISSANCE ORBITER AND LUNAR CRATER OBSERVATION AND SENSING SATELLITE PART 2 OF 6
::2009/06/25::
Play Video
49
ATLAS V ROCKET LAUNCH TOWARDS MOON WITH LUNAR RECONNAISSANCE ORBITER AND LUNAR CRATER OBSERVATION AND SENSING SATELLITE   PART 4 OF 6
ATLAS V ROCKET LAUNCH TOWARDS MOON WITH LUNAR RECONNAISSANCE ORBITER AND LUNAR CRATER OBSERVATION AND SENSING SATELLITE PART 4 OF 6
::2009/06/27::
Play Video
50
ATLAS V ROCKET LAUNCH TOWARDS MOON WITH LUNAR RECONNAISSANCE ORBITER AND LUNAR CRATER OBSERVATION AND SENSING SATELLITE   PART 1 OF 6
ATLAS V ROCKET LAUNCH TOWARDS MOON WITH LUNAR RECONNAISSANCE ORBITER AND LUNAR CRATER OBSERVATION AND SENSING SATELLITE PART 1 OF 6
::2009/06/22::
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The complete list of U.S. Reconnaissance Satellite from 1960 to current days
Aerial view of Osama bin Laden's compound in the Pakistani city of Abbottabad made by the CIA.
KH-4B Corona satellite
A model of a German SAR-Lupe reconnaissance satellite inside a Cosmos-3M rocket.
Microwave interception (Rhyolite)

A reconnaissance satellite (commonly, although unofficially, referred to as a spy satellite) is an Earth observation satellite or communications satellite deployed for military or intelligence applications.

The first generation type (i.e. Corona [1] [2] 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.

In the United States, most information available is on programs that existed up to 1972, as this information has been declassified due to its age. Some information about programs prior to that time is still classified, and a small amount 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-11 photographs which were sent to Jane's Defence Weekly in 1984.[3]

History[edit]

On 16 March 1955, the United States Air Force officially 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'.[4]

Types[edit]

There are several major types of reconnaissance satellite.[5]

Early warning
Provides warning of an attack by detecting ballistic missile launches. Earliest known are Missile Defense Alarm System.
Nuclear explosion detection
Identifies and characterizes nuclear explosions in space. Vela (satellite) is the earliest known.
Photo surveillance
Provides imaging of earth from space. Images can be a survey or close-look telephoto. Corona (satellite) is the earliest known. Spectral imaging is commonplace.
Electronic-reconnaissance
Signals intelligence, intercepts stray radio waves
Radar imaging
Most space-based radars use synthetic aperture radar. Can be used at night or through cloud cover. Earliest known are US-A series.

Missions[edit]

Examples of reconnaissance satellite missions:

On 28 August 2013, it was thought that "a $1-billion high-powered spy satellite capable of snapping pictures detailed enough to distinguish the make and model of an automobile hundreds of miles below"[6] was launched from California's Vandenberg Air Force Base using America's most powerful rocket.

On 17 February 2014 a Russian Kosmos-1220 originally launched in 1980 and used for naval missile targeting until 1982 made an uncontrolled atmospheric entry.[7]

Benefits[edit]

Reconnaissance satellites have been used to enforce human rights, through the Satellite Sentinel Project, which monitors atrocities in Sudan and South Sudan.

During his 1980 State of the Union Address, President Jimmy Carter explained how all of humanity benefited from the presence of American spy satellites:

...photo-reconnaissance satellites, for example, are enormously important in stabilizing world affairs and thereby make a significant contribution to the security of all nations.[8]

Additionally, companies such as GeoEye and DigitalGlobe have provided commercial satellite imagery in support of natural disaster response and humanitarian missions.[9]

During the 1950s, a Soviet hoax had led to American fears of a bomber gap. In 1968, after gaining satellite photography, the United States' intelligence agencies were able to state with certainty that "No new ICBM complexes have been established in the USSR during the past year."[10] President Lyndon B. Johnson told a gathering in 1967:

I wouldn't want to be quoted on this ... We've spent $35 or $40 billion on the space program. And if nothing else had come out of it except the knowledge that we gained from space photography, it would be worth ten times what the whole program has cost. Because tonight we know how many missiles the enemy has and, it turned out, our guesses were way off. We were doing things we didn't need to do. We were building things we didn't need to build. We were harboring fears we didn't need to harbor.[10]

In fiction[edit]

Spy satellites are commonly seen in spy fiction and military fiction. Some works of fiction that focus specifically on spy satellites include:

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Corona History". National Reconnaissance Office. Retrieved February 15, 2014. 
  2. ^ "Corona Program". JPL Mission and Spacecraft Library. Retrieved 16 February 2014. 
  3. ^ Wright, Michael; Herron, Caroline Rand (8 December 1985). "Two Years for Morison". New York Times. Retrieved 16 February 2014. 
  4. ^ Erickson, Mark. Into the Unknown Together - The DOD, NASA, and Early Spaceflight. ISBN 1-58566-140-6. 
  5. ^ reconnaissance satellite, Infoplease, retrieved 2014-02-17 
  6. ^ Hennigan, W.J. (August 27, 2013). "Monster rocket to blast off from Pacific coast, rattle Southland". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 16 February 2014. 
  7. ^ Melissa Goldin (2014-02-17). "Fragments of Soviet-Era Satellite Burn Up in Earth's Atmosphere". Mashable. Retrieved 2014-02-17. 
  8. ^ "The State of the Union Annual Message to the Congress". 1980 State of the Union Address. The American Presidency Project. Retrieved 11 April 2014. 
  9. ^ "Commercial Satellite Imagery Companies Partner with the U.S. Geological Survey in Support of the International Charter "Space and Major Disasters"". USGS Newsroon. United States Geological Survey. Retrieved 4 April 2014. 
  10. ^ a b Heppenheimer, T. A. (1998). The Space Shuttle Decision. NASA. pp. 191, 198. 

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]

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