A radiotelescope in the sky: the USA-202 ORION satellite

An analysis of the USA-202 ORION satellite and its capabilities, based on classified documents.

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A new German space policy?

German media recently reported the country will procure a new high-resolution optical satellite. According to the press, this satellite will be operated by the BND, Germany's foreign intelligence service. Such a purchase breaks from the German tradition of operating only radar satellites, under the control of the military, and thus marks an unexpected shift in… Continue reading A new German space policy?

History of the French reconnaissance system

France currently has a vigorous earth observation industry, which captures a large part of the export market for reconnaissance satellites. It has not always been this way: contrary to the USA or the USSR, France has never had film-return optical satellites, and orbited its own space reconnaissance systems roughly 30 years later than them. In… Continue reading History of the French reconnaissance system

The Chinese maritime surveillance system

An analysis of the Chinese reconnaissance satellites, and their maritime surveillance capabilities This article initially appeared on eastpendulum.com, a French-language blog about the Chinese military and aerospace industry   Historical context   Ever since the Communist Party conquered mainland China in 1949, the island of Taiwan has been a source of tension in the region.… Continue reading The Chinese maritime surveillance system

History of the US reconnaissance system

I wanted to make a short post on today's US spy satellites, but I realized that to speculate about them, it's better to have some historical perspective. So I assembled a condensed history of the US reconnaissance system (only for imagery, the electronic side might come later). I used Susan D. Schultz's chronology in Why… Continue reading History of the US reconnaissance system