reconnaissance satellite

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Related to reconnaissance satellite: Surveillance satellite

reconnaissance satellite,

artificial satellitesatellite, artificial,
object constructed by humans and placed in orbit around the earth or other celestial body (see also space probe). The satellite is lifted from the earth's surface by a rocket and, once placed in orbit, maintains its motion without further rocket propulsion.
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 launched by a country to provide intelligence information on the military activities of foreign countries. There are four major types. Early-warning satellites detect enemy missile launchings. Nuclear-explosion detection satellites are designed to detect and identify nuclear explosions in space. Photo-surveillance satellites provide photographs of enemy military activities, e.g., the deployment of intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs). There are two subtypes: close-look satellites provide high-resolution photographs that are returned to earth via a reentry capsule, whereas area-survey satellites provide lower-resolution photographs that are transmitted to earth via radio. Later satellites have combined these two functions. Other satellites use radar to provide images of enemy activity when there is cloud cover or it is dark. Electronic-reconnaissance (ferret) satellites pickup and record radio and radar transmissions while passing over a foreign country. The United States, Russia (before 1991, the USSR), and other nations have launched numerous reconnaissance satellites since 1960.


See E. D. Conway, An Introduction to Satellite Image Interpretation (1997); P. Taubman, Secret Empire: Eisenhower, the CIA and the Hidden Story of America's Space Espionage (2003).

References in periodicals archive ?
According to Peebles, this mission was the source for Alistair McLean's novel Ice Station Zebra, in which Americans and Soviets raced to recover a Soviet reconnaissance satellite that came down in the Arctic carrying film of American missile silos.
In an attempt to quell interservice rivalry, development of the reconnaissance satellite was transferred for awhile to a research group, the Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA) in the Department of Defense.
Japan has been studying a reconnaissance satellite since fiscal 1997.
Should that conflict occur, the first sign that it is underway might be the sudden disappearance of America's global-positioning and reconnaissance satellites.
The Gulf states aim to acquire a reconnaissance satellite to boost their joint military capabilities.
His administration supported the Vanguard program of the International Geophysical Year as a cover for a reconnaissance satellite program.
Next, Taubman details the creation of the Corona reconnaissance satellite.
GRAB was the first space reconnaissance satellite and its progeny has provided intelligence that we could not have collected through any other means.
Although the CIA refuses to release any technical details about its reconnaissance satellite capabilities, books, trade magazines and technical articles have appeared over the years that give a pretty good idea of the workings of these devices.
U-2 spy aircraft was shot down over the Soviet Union, Lorenzen's most notable achievement became the Galactic Radiation and Background payload, GRAB, the earliest space-based reconnaissance satellite and the first U.
From Joseph Knopow's late-1940s conceptual design for a satellite equipped with an IR radiometer and telescope, Lockheed Missile Systems would create a subsystem to the WS-117L space-based reconnaissance effort (best known for the extremely successful Discoverer/CORONA reconnaissance satellite effort).
In 2011, Turkey launched its first own reconnaissance satellite RASAT.

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