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Counting the weapons: Many top secret eyes in the skies keep vigil over Soviet weponry: Just how sharp are they?

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1 Author(s)

Many top-secret US spy-satellites keep the Soviet Union under surveillance. The author notes the uses of these remote sensing satellites, including monitoring Middle East truce agreements; helping predict crop yields; and monitoring disasters such as the Soviet nuclear reactor explosion at Chernobyl. The space-borne imaging systems are also instrumental in targeting Soviet and other military installations and for compiling accurate military maps. The development of US surveillance satellites since the late 1950s is discussed. The Keyhole (KH) series of intelligence satellites is reviewed, including the projected KH-12 to be launched when the US shuttle flights resume. Emphasis is on the optical and remote sensing capabilities for weapons counting by surveillance satellites. Also covered are optical systems resolution; infrared sensors; synthetic-aperture radars for cloud cover penetration; image data processing; strategic surveillance accuracy and ground targeting; and sea and space surveillance. A special section highlights the art and science of photointerpretation.

Published in:

Spectrum, IEEE  (Volume:23 ,  Issue: 7 )