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Encyclopedia > Spy satellite
KH-4B Corona satellite
KH-4B Corona satellite
Lacrosse radar spy satellite under construction
Lacrosse radar spy satellite under construction

A spy satellite (officially referred to as a reconnaissance 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 radio links. Wikipedia does not have an article with this exact name. ... Wikipedia does not have an article with this exact name. ... Wikipedia does not have an article with this exact name. ... Wikipedia does not have an article with this exact name. ... Earth observation satellites are satellites specifically designed to observe Earth from orbit, similar to reconnaissance satellites but intended for non-military uses such as environmental monitoring, meteorology, map making etc. ... U.S. military MILSTAR communications satellite A communications satellite (sometimes abbreviated to comsat) is an artificial satellite stationed in space for the purposes of telecommunications. ... Spy and Secret agent redirect here. ... KH-4B Corona satellite Recovery of Discoverer 14 return capsule (typical for the Corona series Diagram of J-1 type stereo / panoramic reciprocating Corona reconnaissance satellite camera system used on KH-4A missions from 1963 to 1969. ... Zenit (Russian: Зени́т, Zenith) is the name of a series of military spy satellites launched by the Soviet Union between 1961 and 1994. ... This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ... A helicopter with a long hook can catch a parachuting object in mid-air, as seen here in a practice run for the planned retrieval of Genesis. ... This article is about the device. ...


In the 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-11 photographs which were sent to Jane's Defence Weekly in 1985. A typical classified document. ... A leaked KH-11 photo showing the Nikolaiev 444 shipyard in the Black Sea taken in 1984 The KH-11, also referenced by the codenames 1010[1], Crystal and Kennan[2], also commonly known as Key Hole, was a type of reconnaissance satellite launched by the American National Reconnaissance Office... Janes Defence Weekly (abbreviated as JDW) is a weekly magazine reporting on military and corporate affairs. ...

Contents

Origins

On March 16, 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.”[3] is the 75th day of the year (76th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1955 (MCMLV) was a common year starting on Saturday (link displays the 1955 Gregorian calendar). ... USAF redirects here. ...


Missions

Examples of reconnaissance satellite missions:

IMINT, short for IMagery INTelligence, is an intelligence gathering discipline which collects information via satellite and aerial photography. ... For other uses, see Sigint (disambiguation). ... Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty Opened for signature September 10, 1996[1] in New York Entered into force Not yet in force Conditions for entry into force The treaty will enter into force 180 days after it is ratified by all of the following 44 (Annex 2) countries: Algeria, Argentina... National Technical Means (NTM) is a euphemism for intelligence collection by reconnaissance satellites. ...

Types

United States

Time period Designation Code name or Nickname Optics Notes
1959–1962 KH-1 to KH-3 Corona Resolution: 7.5 m
Focal length: 0.6 m
First series of US imaging spy satellites; photographs returned by film canister ejection. Each satellite carried a single panoramic camera.
1960–1962 Samos Res: 30 to 1.5 m
Foc len: 0.7 to 1.83 m
Most flights used radio to relay images; some film returns; probably cancelled due to poor-quality imagery.
1962-1963 KH-4 Corona Resolution: 7.5 m Film return. Two panoramic cameras.
1963-1969 KH-4A Corona Resolution: 2.75 m Film return with two reentry vehicles and two panoramic cameras. Large volume of imagery.
1967-1972 KH-4B Corona Resolution: 1.8 m Film return with two reentry vehicles and two panoramic cameras.
1961–1964 KH-5 Argon Res: 140 m
Foc len: 76 mm
Film return. Low-resolution, high coverage-area images used for mapping.
1963 KH-6 Lanyard Res: 1.8 m
Foc len: 1.67 m
Shortlived operation for imaging a specific site; used a camera from the Samos program; film return.
1963–1967 KH-7 Gambit Res: 0.46 m Film return with single reentry vehicle per launch.
1966–1984 KH-8 Gambit Res: 0.5 m Film return.
1971–1986 KH-9 Hexagon
"Big Bird"
Res: 0.30 m Film return with four or five reentry vehicles per launch.
cancelled KH-10 Dorian Manned Orbital Laboratory; space station based on Gemini program.
1976–1995 KH-11 Crystal
Kennan
Res: 0.15 m
Mirror: 2.3 m
First known digital imaging spy satellite. Thought possibly to be similar in size and overall layout to the Hubble Space Telescope.
1990—? KH-12 Ikon
Improved Crystal
Res: 0.15 to 0.10? m
Mirror: 2.4 to 4? m
Digital imaging; probably incorporates low light level visible and 3 to 5 micrometre infrared imaging capabilities; possible "live" intelligence gathering.
1999—? KH-13 8X? EIS? Res: 0.10? to 0.04? m (*)
Mirror: 4? m
Very little known; possibly includes radar imaging or maybe stealth technology.

(*) 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 inhomogenious atmosphere further degrade resolution. The apogee of a typical filming mission would have been close to 100 km. Using the above calculation the resolution would have been less than 2 cm (<1 inch). ELINT stands for ELectronic INTelligence, and refers to intelligence-gathering by use of electronic sensors. ... Galactic Radiation and Background (GRAB) is the name of a series of intelligence satellites operated by the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory to collect electronic intelligence (ELINT). ... POPPY is the code name given to a series of U.S. intelligence satellites operated by the National Reconnaissance Office. ... The Naval Ocean Surveillance System (NOSS), code named White Cloud, is a system consisting of SIGINT satellites, devoted mainly or entirely to ELINT, in low earth orbit. ... SAMOS-F or Air Force Program 102 refers to a series of SIGINT reconnaissance satellites launched and operated by the United States Air Force and National Reconnaissance Office during the 1960s. ... For other uses, see Sigint (disambiguation). ... Jumpseat is reportedly a code name for a class of SIGINT reconnaissance satellites operated by the National Reconnaissance Office for the United States Air Force. ... TRUMPET is reportedly a codename for a series of ELINT reconnaissance satellites launched by the United States during the 1990s to replace the Jumpseat (satellite) satellites. ... Rhyolite and later, Aquacade are reportedly code names for a class of SIGINT reconnaissance satellites operated by the National Reconnaissance Office for the United States Department of Defense. ... Magnum is reportedly a code name for a class of SIGINT reconnaissance satellite operated by the National Reconnaissance Office for the United States Department of Defense. ... MENTOR, sometimes called Advanced Orion by observers, is reportedly a code-name for a class of three United States reconnaissance satellites that collect signals intelligence (SIGINT)from space. ... CANYON refers to a series of seven United States reconnaissance satellites launched between 1968 and 1977. ... Vortex, previously known as Chalet, is a class of spy satellite. ... MERCURY (sometimes called Advanced VORTEX) is reportedly the name of a series of three United States reconnaissance satellites launched in the 1990s. ... Lacrosse and Onyx are the rumored code names for the United States National Reconnaissance Office terrestrial radar imaging reconnaissance satellite. ... Please wikify (format) this article as suggested in the Guide to layout and the Manual of Style. ... Misty is the name of a satellite launched on March 1, 1990 for the National Reconnaissance Office. ... Zirconic is the name of a program for the development of stealth reconnaissance satellites for the National Reconnaissance Office. ... Quasar is the rumored BYEMAN code name for a communications satellite commonly called the Satellite Data System (SDS) operated by the U.S. National Reconnaissance Office. ... Vela was the name of a group of satellites developed as the Vela Hotel element of Project Vela by the United States to monitor compliance with the 1963 Partial Test Ban Treaty by the Soviet Union, and other nuclear-capable states. ... KH-4B Corona satellite Recovery of Discoverer 14 return capsule (typical for the Corona series Corona was the name of a series of US military reconnaissance satellites operated under a CIA program with substantial assistance from the US Air Force, used for photographic surveillance of the Soviet Union, China and... KH-4B Corona satellite Recovery of Discoverer 14 return capsule (typical for the Corona series Diagram of J-1 type stereo / panoramic reciprocating Corona reconnaissance satellite camera system used on KH-4A missions from 1963 to 1969. ... The Samos program (sometimes written as SAMOS and standing for Satellite and Missile Observation Satellite) produced a relatively shortlived series of reconnaissance satellites for the United States. ... Codenamed Argon, the KH-5 was a series of reconnaissance satellites produced by the United States from February 1961 to August 1964. ... Codenamed Lanyard, the KH-6 was a shortlived series of reconnaissance satellites produced by the United States from March to July 1963. ... Codenamed Gambit, the KH-7 was a reconnaissance satellite used by the United States from July 1963 to June 1967. ... The KH-8, codenamed Gambit was a long-lived series of reconnaissance satellites used by the United States from July 1966 to April 1984. ... Codenamed Hexagon, the KH-9 was a reconnaissance satellite used by the United States from June 1971 to April 1986. ... KH-9, codenamed HEXAGON, and popularly known as Big Bird,[1] was a series of photographic reconnaissance satellites launched by the United States between 1971 and 1986. ... Gemini B reentry module separates from the MOL Laboratory. ... MOL test launch Nov. ... The International Space Station in 2007 A space station is an artificial structure designed for humans to live in outer space. ... Wikipedia does not yet have an article with this exact name. ... A leaked KH-11 photo showing the Nikolaiev 444 shipyard in the Black Sea taken in 1984 The KH-11, also referenced by the codenames 1010[1], Crystal and Kennan[2], also commonly known as Key Hole, was a type of reconnaissance satellite launched by the American National Reconnaissance Office... Digital imaging or digital image acquisition is the creation of digital images, typically from a physical object. ... The Hubble Space Telescope (HST; also known colloquially as the Hubble or just Hubble) is a space telescope that was carried into Earth orbit by the Space Shuttle in April 1990. ... The KH-12, also known by the codenames Ikon and Improved Crystal, is a successor to the KH-11 reconnaissance satellite and also used digital imaging. ... A micrometre (American spelling: micrometer, symbol µm) is an SI unit of length equal to one millionth of a metre, or about a tenth of the diameter of a droplet of mist or fog. ... Image of a small dog taken in mid-infrared (thermal) light (false color) A thermographic camera, sometimes called a FLIR (forward looking infrared), or an infrared camera less specifically, is a device that forms an image using infrared radiation, similar to a common camera that forms an image using visible... The KH-13 is a potential successor to the KH-12 reconnaissance satellite. ... The KH-13 is a potential successor to the KH-12 reconnaissance satellite. ... The KH-13 is a potential successor to the KH-12 reconnaissance satellite. ... Traditional radar sends directional pulses of electromagnetic energy and detects the presence, position and motion of an object (such as an aircraft) by analyzing the portion of the energy reflected from the object back to the radar station. ... F-117 stealth attack plane Stealth technology is a sub-discipline of electronic countermeasures which covers a range of techniques used with aircraft, ships and missiles, in order to make them less visible (ideally invisible) to radar, infrared and other detection methods. ... The intensity pattern formed on a screen by diffraction from a square aperture Diffraction refers to various phenomena associated with wave propagation, such as the bending, spreading and interference of waves passing by an object or aperture that disrupts the wave. ...


Soviet Union/Russia

Cosmos is name of a series of satellites which were launched by the Soviet Union and are being launched now by Russia. ... Radar-equipped Ocean Reconnaissance SATellite or RORSAT is the western name given to the Soviet Upravlenniye Sputnik-Aktivny (US-A) satellites. ... For other uses, see Radar (disambiguation). ... Topaz Nuclear Reactor, a series of lightweight nuclear reactors flown in space by the Soviet Union and the Russian Federation. ... The Almaz (Алмаз - Diamond) program was a series of military space stations launched by the Soviet Union under cover of the Salyut program. ... Zenit (Russian: Зени́т, Zenith) is the name of a series of military spy satellites launched by the Soviet Union between 1961 and 1994. ...

China

Fanhui Shi Weixing, or Recoverable Test Satellite, is a series of Chinese reconnaissance satellites. ...

Canada

  • Project Sapphire

Germany

  • SAR-Lupe
    • SAR-Lupe 1
    • SAR-Lupe 2
    • SAR-Lupe 3
    • SAR-Lupe 4
    • SAR-Lupe 5

SAR-Lupe is the German reconnaissance satellite system. ...

France

  • Helios 1B (destroyed), Helios 2A

The Helios 1B is a French military photo-reconnoissance spacecraft. ... Helios 2A is a French military observation satellite which was launched on December 18, 2004 by an Ariane 5 rocket from French Guiana. ...

United Kingdom

Zircon was the codename for a British signals intelligence satellite, intended to be launched in 1988, before being cancelled. ...

India

As the name suggests, Technology Experiment Satellite is an expermental satellite aimed primarily to fulfill the role of spy satellite launched by Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) - Indias national space agency. ...

Iran

  • Sinah-1
  • Mesbah (ready for launch)

Sinah-1 is the first Iranian artificial satellite, launched at 6:52 UTC October 28, 2005 on board a Cosmos-3M Russian launch vehicle from the Plesetsk Cosmodrome. ...

Iraq

(under Saddam Hussein) Saddam Hussein Abd al-Majid al-Tikriti (28 April 1937 – 30 December 2006) was the fifth President of Iraq and Chairman of the Iraqi Revolutionary Command Council from 1979 until his overthrow by US forces in 2003. ...

Al Hussein or al-Husayn is a designation of an Iraqi missile During 1988-90, the Iraqis made strides in their indigenous rocket program, which was centered on upgrading the performance of the Scud. ...

Israel

Ofeq 5 Ofeq, also spelled Offek or Ofek (Hebrew: אופק, Horizon) is the designation of a series of Israeli reconnaissance satellites. ...

Italy

  • COSMO-SkyMed

COSMO-SkyMed is an Earth observation satellite system funded by the Italian Ministry of Research and Ministry of Defence and conducted by the Italian Space Agency (ASI), intended for both military and civilian use. ...

Japan

  • Information Gathering Satellite

An Information Gathering Satellite (IGS) is a satellite in a Japanese spy satellite program. ...

Egypt

  • EgyptSat 1 [1]
  • EgyptSat 2 (planned)
  • DesertSat (planned end of 2007)

EgyptSat-1 is Egypts first Earth remote sounding Satellite. ...

South Korea

  • Arirang-2

Arirang-2 is a South Korean multipurpose satellite. ...

Turkey

  • Türk Gölgesi
    • Türk Gölgesi 1
    • Türk Gölgesi 2
    • Türk Gölgesi 3
    • Classified
    • Classified

Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia has, together with Qatar and United Arab Emirates (other Gulf Cooperation Council's countries) shown interest in satellite military Earth observation systems.


Other Countries

In fiction

Spy satellites are commonly seen in spy fiction and military fiction. Some works of fiction that focus specifically on spy satellites include: For the video game, see Spy Fiction (video game). ...

The OMAC Project #1; cover by Jose Ladronn. ... Enemy of the State is a 1998 film written by David Marconi, produced by Jerry Bruckheimer, and directed by Tony Scott, and starring Will Smith, Gene Hackman, Jon Voight, Lisa Bonet and Regina King. ...

References

  1. ^ Corona page at NRO
  2. ^ Corona page at NASA
  3. ^ Erickson, Mark. Into the Unknown Together - The DOD, NASA, and Early Spaceflight. ISBN 1-58566-140-6. 
  4. ^ Rorsat - Encyclopedia Astronautica

See also

Cost overrun is defined as excess of actual cost over budget. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... The National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) is one of the 16 intelligence agencies in the U.S. It designs, builds and operates the reconnaissance satellites of the United States government. ... Painting of a DSP satellite on station. ... The European Union Satellite Centre (EUSC) was set up in 2002 in order to replace the Western Union Satellite Centre and thus represents a part of the transfer of functions from the Western European Union (WEU) to the European Union EU, and more specifically to the Common Foreign and Security... Enemy of the State is a 1998 film written by David Marconi, produced by Jerry Bruckheimer, and directed by Tony Scott, and starring Will Smith, Gene Hackman, Jon Voight, Lisa Bonet and Regina King. ... “Reentry” redirects here. ... Intelligence Gathering Disciplines HUMINT - Human Intelligence - gathered from a person on the ground. ...

External links


  Results from FactBites:
 
Privacy, The Menace of Satellite Surveillance (2875 words)
Spy satellites--as opposed to satellites for broadcasting and exploration of space--have little or no civilian use--except, perhaps, to subject one's enemy or favorite malefactor to surveillance.
Perhaps those under satellite surveillance are mainly the powerless, but wealthy and famous people make more interesting targets, as it were, so despite their power to resist an outrageous violation of their privacy, a few of them may be victims of satellite surveillance.
However, the capability of a satellite for multiple-target monitoring is even harder to estimate than the number of satellites; it may be connected to the number of transponders on each satellite, the transponder being a key device for both receiving and transmitting information.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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