The satellites would have deployed a huge wire mesh to disable ICBMs during their early launch phase.  The USAF had requirements for a more accurate and reliable navigation system, as did the United States Army for geodetic surveying  for which purpose they had developed the SECOR system. “In regions like the Middle East, CORONA imagery is particularly important for archaeology because urban development, agricultural intensification, and reservoir construction over the past several decades have obscured or destroyed countless archaeological sites and other ancient features such as roads and canals. About 29,000 mapping images are available. Conducting commercial geospatial analytics over a broader period of time: The firm Orbital Insight, founded in 2013, is an example of commercial firms that are mining geospatial data and developing valuable information products for a wide range of customers. You can explore the Aral Sea Earthshots photo sequences at the following link: https://earthshots.usgs.gov/earthshots/node/91#ad-image-0-0. Since some of the major military activities of the U.S. army is in foreign territories, the U.S. government needs to subcontract satellite services to foreign carriers headquartered in areas with favorable climate.. The French military’s CSO 2 reconnaissance satellite, with a cover over its optical telescope. Read below to see our go-to list of free satellite imagery sources. NASA satellite imagery and astronaut photography reveal where an English alphabet can be found in the landforms of the Earth. Since the CORONA, ARGON, and LANYARD data were no longer critical to national security and could be of historical value for global change research, the images were declassified by Executive Order 12951 in 1995”, You can read Executive Order 12951 here: https://www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/WCPD-1995-02-27/pdf/WCPD-1995-02-27-Pg304.pdf. The KH-11 flies long-duration missions and returns its digital images in near real time to ground stations for processing and analysis. Not only can you download the latest, greatest satellite imagery… but it’s all FREE. USGS reports: “The Aral Sea once covered about 68,000 square kilometers, a little bigger than the U.S. state of West Virginia. In 1958, the United States initiated Project Defender to develop an anti-ICBM solution launched from satellites. ", "Release No: 65-333 : Project Geodetic Explorer-A", "Treaty on Principles Governing the Activities of States in the Exploration and Use of Outer Space, including the Moon and Other Celestial Bodies", United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs, "Azerbaijan improves legal framework for space cooperation", "UK's Skynet military satellite launched", https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Military_satellite&oldid=997358206, Articles with unsourced statements from January 2014, Articles containing Russian-language text, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License. The table of contents to the Earthshots webpages is shown below and is at the following link: http:// https://earthshots.usgs.gov/earthshots/, For the Aral Sea region, the Earthshots photo sequences start with ARGON KH-5 photos taken in 1964. The project floundered due to the lack of any mechanism to protect the satellites from attack resulting in the cancellation of Defender in 1968. The military reconnaissance satellite imagery, except from ARGON KH-5, is higher resolution than is available today from Landsat civilian earth observation satellites. There have also been a number of subsequent programs including Magnum and Trumpet, but these remain classified and therefore many details remain speculative. Three stations were launched between 1973 and 1976: Salyut 2, Salyut 3 and Salyut 5. While such imagery access is relatively rapid, it still prevents individuals and organizations from accessing data that needs to be more immediate. CORONA image resolution improved from 40 feet (12.2 meters) for the KH-1 to about 6 feet (1.8 meters) for the KH-4B. It was rebuilt in 2005 and named the Kok-Aral Dam…..The North Aral has stabilized but the South Aral has continued to shrink and become saltier. Stratfor Military Analyst Sim Tack explains a series of satellite images that show the construction of a Russian air base in Syria. 83, No.  The system is provided by a private contractor, Astrium, with the UK government paying service charges based on bandwidth consumption. Abstract only at: Carolyn Gramling, “Cold War–era spy satellite images show Himalayan glaciers are melting fast – Declassified photos and NASA data provide a picture of accelerating ice loss,” 19 June 2019, Sciencenews website at: Geoff Manaugh, “Archaeologists Are Spotting Ancient Ruins in Cold War Spy Photos,” The Atlantic, 23 June 2016. Not all KH-9 satellite missions included a mapping camera. Resolution of the current generation multi-spectral scanner on Landsat 9 is 30 meters (98 feet) in visible light bands. These developments led eventually to the deployment of the Global Positioning System (GPS). The latest changes are being observed through satellite imagery at Hotan in occupied East Turkestan, now Xinjiang, which is one of the People’s Liberation Army Air Force’s (PLAAF) major fighter airbases. Duplicate film held in the USGS Earth Resources Observation and Science (EROS) Center archive is used to produce digital copies of the imagery for distribution to users. Eight satellites took pictures on film roll, which were then parachuted back into the atmosphere, where a perfectly timed US military plane snatched it mid-air before it could be intercepted. Spy satellites have been with us since the dawn of the Space Age. KH-6 LANYARD image resolution was about 6 feet (1.8 meters). However, the unique imaging geometry of the CORONA satellite cameras, which produced long, narrow film strips, makes correcting spatial distortions in the images very challenging and has therefore limited their use by researchers.”, CAST reports that they have “developed methods for efficient, orthorectification of CORONA imagery and now provides free public access to our imagery database for non-commercial use.  It used a constellation of five satellites and could provide a navigational fix approximately once per hour. The United Kingdom also operates military communication satellites through its Skynet system. The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA), which was formed in 2003, has the primary mission of collecting, analyzing, and distributing GEOINT in support of national security.  Discoverer 1, the first mission, was launched on 28 February 1959 although it didn't carry a payload being intended as a test flight to prove the technology. With imagery collected from the past two decades, along with so many different options available, we can offer high resolution imagery for nearly any place on Earth. The treaty became effective on 10 October 1967 and, as of May 2013, 102 countries are parties to the treaty with a further 27 pending full ratification.. Experience Earth on any device See all Earth versions. Additional sets of military reconnaissance satellite imagery were declassified in 2002 and 2011 based on extensions of Executive Order 12951. Operationally Response Satellite-1; Kestrel-Eye; Geostationary Imaging Satellites; 8X; FIA - Future Imagery Architecture to BASIC ; FIA RECSAT Concept; E … NASA has developed in recent years a platform, called Land, Atmosphere Near Real-time Capability for EOS (LANCE), to provide near real-time data to those needing data and use of platforms such as MODIS. In this case, data are available as quick as within 3 hours of when imagery was taken. Project Oberon, as it's known, has been in discussion for a while. Example applications of declassified military reconnaissance satellite imagery. Only military sources, however, have access to images captured at the satellite's maximum ground resolution of 0.41 meters; Commercial clients' images are re-sampled at a 0.5-meter resolution. Typically military satellites operate in the UHF, SHF (also known as X-band) or EHF (also known as Ka band) frequency bands. In the United States, research into satellite based weapons was initiated by President Dwight D. Eisenhower in the 1950s. Overview of US military optical reconnaissance satellite programs. In 1976, NRO deployed its first electronic imaging optical reconnaissance satellite known as KENNEN KH-11 (renamed CRYSTAL in 1982), which eventually replaced the KH-9, and brought an end to reconnaissance satellite missions requiring film return. Commercial Data In Use. In the United States the first formal military satellite programs, Weapon System 117L, was developed in the mid 1950s. , Why Isro's Gsat-7A launch is important for the Indian Air Force, "Military Satellite Systems: A History — Part One", "Russian Satellite Maneuvers, Silence Worry Intelsat", "Why Did the Department of Defense Develop GPS? For security reasons, there are no published orbit schedules for the imagery spacecraft. Since 1972, Landsat satellites have continuously acquired low-to-moderate resolution digital images of the Earth’s land surface, providing long-term data about the status of natural resources and the environment.  Corona was followed by other programs including Canyon (seven launches between 1968 and 1977), Aquacade and Orion (stated by US Government sources to be extremely large). Wideband systems support high-bandwidth transfers. The advent of the US civilian Earth observation programs. The last SECOR satellite was launched in 1969. Select any Military satellite listed to learn additional details, perform live tracking or see … Not only does this create unprecedented transparency, but it also empowers business and policy decision makers with new insights and unbiased knowledge of socio-economic trends. You’ll find more information on the NRO’s film-return, optical reconnaissance satellites (KH-1 to KH-9) at the following links: You’ll find details on NRO’s electronic optical reconnaissance satellites (KH-11, KH-12) at the following links: 6. Signal latency is a major concern in satellite communications, so geographic and meteorological factors play an important role in choosing teleports. The KH-11, or an advanced version sometimes referred to as the KH-12, is operational today. The declassified military reconnaissance satellite imagery provides views of the Earth starting in the early 1960s, more than a decade before civilian Earth observation satellites became operational. NRO developed several generations of classified Keyhole (KH) military optical reconnaissance satellites that have been the primary sources of Earth imagery for the US Department of Defense (DoD) and intelligence agencies. They are deployed in geostationary orbit and provide wideband, narrowband and protected military communication systems. This is currently operated with support from Astrium Services and provides near worldwide coverage with both X band and Ultra high frequency services. Use imagery to analyse and report significant features and activity at military installations. In a 7 June 2016 article entitled, ”Spy satellites reveal early start to Antarctic ice shelf collapse,” Thomas Sumner reported: “Analyzing declassified images from spy satellites, researchers discovered that the downhill flow of ice on Antarctica’s Larsen B ice shelf was already accelerating as early as the 1960s and ’70s. A fourth ground-based station, at an undetermined position, could then use those signals to fix its location precisely. This set of photos, declassified in 2002, consists of photographs from the KH-7 GAMBIT surveillance system and KH-9 HEXAGON mapping program. Military using 13 satellites to keep eye on foes; ... 712-kg Cartosat-2 series spacecraft is an advanced remote sensing satellite capable of providing scene-specific spot imagery. SECOR used ground-based transmitters from known locations that sent signals to satellite transponder in orbit. Google Earth on web Now available on Chrome and coming soon to more browsers. There are five types of resolution when discussing satellite imagery in remote sensing: spatial, spectral, temporal, radiometric and geometric. Geospatial intelligence, or GEOINT, is the exploitation and analysis of imagery and geospatial information to describe, assess and visually depict physical features and geographically referenced activities on the Earth. The declassified imagery is an important supplement to other Earth imagery sources. The US Corona Project used a satellite to spy on Russia during the Cold War and now the images, taken in the 1960s and 1970s, are helping scientists better understand our planet. A KH-12 is a $1 billion satellite that resembles the Hubble Space Telescope, except it is looking at our planet. KH-5 ARGON image resolution was about 460 feet (140 meters). The salinity level now exceeds 100 grams per liter in the South Aral, which is about three times saltier than the ocean.”, On the USGS website, the “Earthshots: Satellite Images of Environmental Change” webpages show the visible changes at many locations on Earth over a 50+ year time period. Whoops. It is not possible to identify the exact number of these that are military satellites partly due to secrecy and partly due to dual purpose missions such as GPS satellites that serve both civilian and military purposes. You’ll find more information on the Landsat program on the USGS website here: https://www.usgs.gov/land-resources/nli/landsat, 3. A Silicon Valley start-up is offering the most detailed space radar imagery on the market Capella Space is teaching the US military how to make satellite radar … The Soviet Union began the Almaz (Russian: Алмаз) program in the early 1960s. By Olivia Solon. In a 19 June 2019 paper “Acceleration of ice loss across the Himalayas over the past 40 years,” the authors, reported on the use of HEXAGON KH-9 mapping camera imagery to improve their understanding of trends affecting the Himalayan glaciers from 1975 to 2016: “Himalayan glaciers supply meltwater to densely populated catchments in South Asia, and regional observations of glacier change over multiple decades are needed to understand climate drivers and assess resulting impacts on glacier-fed rivers. After recovery, the film was processed and analyzed. During the Cold War arms race, the nuclear threat was used to justify the cost of providing a more capable system.  Within this program a number of sub-programs were developed including Corona. A European satellite designed to collect Earth sciences data and distribute it freely to people around the world has the unintended consequence of detecting military radars. Following Salyut 5, the Soviet Ministry of Defence judged in 1978 that the time consumed by station maintenance outweighed the benefits relative to automatic reconnaissance satellites. This mission was a series of reconnaissance satellites, designed to enter orbit, take high-resolution photographs and then return the payload to Earth via parachute. The big question for a lot of people is: "What can they see?" These sites are often clearly visible on CORONA imagery, enabling researchers to map sites that have been lost and to discover many that have never before been documented. Declassification of certain military reconnaissance satellite imagery. A number of nations have developed satellite based early warning systems designed to detect ICBMs during different flight phases. Satellite images are only as good as their resolution.  It was abandoned after a Soviet Navy submarine was detected waiting beneath a mid-air retrieval zone in the Pacific Ocean. A first military satellite named Noor is launched into orbit by Iran's Revolutionary Guards Corps, in Semnan, Iran April 22, 2020. By the late 1980s, the average ice velocity at the front of the shelf was around 20 percent faster than in the preceding decades,….”, You can read the complete article on the ScienceNews website here: https://www.sciencenews.org/article/spy-satellites-reveal-early-start-antarctic-ice-shelf-collapse. About 18,000 black-and-white images and 230 color images are available. By Olivia Solon. Here, we quantify changes in ice thickness during the intervals 1975–2000 and 2000–2016 across the Himalayas, using a set of digital elevation models derived from cold war–era spy satellite film and modern stereo satellite imagery.”, “The majority of the KH-9 images here were acquired within a 3-year interval (1973–1976), and we processed a total of 42 images to provide sufficient spatial coverage.”, “We observe consistent ice loss along the entire 2000-km transect for both intervals and find a doubling of the average loss rate during 2000–2016.”, “Our compilation includes glaciers comprising approximately 34% of the total glacierized area in the region, which represents roughly 55% of the total ice volume based on recent ice thickness estimates.”, You can read the complete paper by J. M. Maurer, et al., on the Science Advances website here: https://advances.sciencemag.org/content/5/6/eaav7266. It is now only about 10% of the size it was in 1960…..In the 1990s, a dam was built to prevent North Aral water from flowing into the South Aral. GEOINT consists of imagery, imagery intelligence and geospatial information. The KH-9 mapping camera was designed to support mapping requirements and exact positioning of geographical points.  Satellites within the Corona program carried different code names. The UK government is pushing ahead with its plans for a cluster of military radar satellites, placing a design study with Airbus. Launch in Earth. Additional reading related to civilian use of declassified spy satellite imagery, Earth Resources Observation and Science Center, National Aeronautics & Space Administration, National Archives and Records Administration, https://www.nga.mil/ProductsServices/Pages/Imagery.aspx, https://www.usgs.gov/land-resources/nli/landsat, https://www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/WCPD-1995-02-27/pdf/WCPD-1995-02-27-Pg304.pdf, https://www.usgs.gov/centers/eros/science/usgs-eros-archive-products-overview?qt-science_center_objects=0#qt-science_center_objects, http:// https://earthshots.usgs.gov/earthshots/, https://earthshots.usgs.gov/earthshots/node/91#ad-image-0-0, https://www.sciencenews.org/article/spy-satellites-reveal-early-start-antarctic-ice-shelf-collapse, https://advances.sciencemag.org/content/5/6/eaav7266, https://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=20232.0, https://www.cia.gov/library/center-for-the-study-of-intelligence/csi-publications/books-and-monographs/corona.pdf, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/KH-6_Lanyard, https://www.nationalmuseum.af.mil/Visit/Museum-Exhibits/Fact-Sheets/Display/Article/195920/gambit-1-kh-7-reconnaissance-satellite/, https://www.nationalmuseum.af.mil/Visit/Museum-Exhibits/Fact-Sheets/Display/Article/195922/gambit-3-kh-8-reconnaissance-satellite/, https://www.nationalmuseum.af.mil/Visit/Museum-Exhibits/Fact-Sheets/Display/Article/195921/hexagon-kh-9-reconnaissance-satellite/, https://space.skyrocket.de/doc_sdat/kh-1.htm, https://www.americaspace.com/2012/06/06/top-secret-kh-11-spysat-design-revealed-by-nros-twin-telescope-gift-to-nasa/, http://www.spacesafetymagazine.com/space-debris/astrophotography/view-keyhole-satellite/, https://pubs.usgs.gov/fs/2008/3054/pdf/fs2008-3054.pdf, https://news.virginia.edu/content/cold-war-era-spy-satellite-images-reveal-possible-effects-climate-change, https://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/images/77193/the-aral-sea-before-the-streams-ran-dry, https://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-3635121/The-SPY-PHOTOS-reveal-early-start-Antarctic-melt-Biggest-ice-shelf-collapse-record-began-1960s.html, http://www.asprs.org/a/publications/pers/2017journals/PERS_July_2017_Public/HTML/files/assets/common/downloads/page0019.pdf, https://www.sciencenews.org/article/cold-war-spy-satellite-images-himalayan-glaciers-rapid-melting, https://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2016/06/among-the-remnants/488279/, Augmented Reality & Virtual Reality – AR/VR, National Imagery and Mapping Agency (NIMA), 1996 – 2003, National Photographic Interpretation Center (NPIC), a joint project of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and DoD, 1961 – 1996. Robert Perry, “A History of Satellite Reconnaissance,” Volumes I to V, National Reconnaissance Office (NRO), various dates 1973 – 1974; released under FOIA and available for download on the NASA Spaceflight.com website, here: Kevin C. Ruffner (Editor), “CORONA: America’s First Satellite Program,” CIA War Records Series, Central Intelligence Agency, 1995; Craig Covault, “Top Secret KH-11 Spysat Design Revealed By NRO’s Twin Telescope Gift to NASA,” 6 June 2012; Ralf Vandebergh, “KH-12 Keenan Keyhole Secret Military Spy Satellite Photos,” Space Safety Magazine, 26 September 2013; US Geologic Survey Fact Sheet 2008-3054, “Declassified Intelligence Satellite Photographs,” July 2008; Fariss Samarrai, “Cold war-era spy satellite images reveal possible effects of climate change,” Phys Org, 10 April 2017; “The Aral Sea, Before the Streams Ran Dry,” NASA Earth Observatory. Military Satellite and UAV Images Blog Global Hawk Captures Essential California Wildfires Images Source: U.S. Air Force | Posted 10.30.2007. Campbell (2002) defines these as follows: Combining this information with terrestrial data, such as mobile and location-based data, unlocks new sources of intelligence.”, The Orbital Insight website is here: https://orbitalinsight.com/company/, 5. Communications satellites are used for military communications applications. We map out and quantify the world’s complexities so that organizations can make more informed decisions.”, “By applying artificial intelligence to satellite, UAV, and other geospatial data sources, we seek to discover and quantify societal and economic trends on Earth that are indistinguishable to the human eye. The USGS explains: “The images were originally used for reconnaissance and to produce maps for U.S. intelligence agencies. The current generation multi-spectral scanner on Landsat 9 is 30 meters ( feet! 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