Spy satellites in the sky have helped in the recent moves to bring peace to one of the world's hottest trouble-spots - the Middle East.
Culver City, California - satellite animation 1968
SV ZOOM OUT satellite in operation
From 1967 U.S. film of SR 71 in training flight
SV Plane out of hangar, up runway, & in flight (4 shots)
U-2's in action, Panama Canal zone '64
LV U-2 in flight (3 shots)
China puts U-2 wreckage on show '65
SV PAN and CU plane wreckage
Culver City, California - 1968 - Satellite Construction
SV & CU technicians work on satellite construction (5 shots)
LV Rocket launch
Animation - CU satellite in orbit
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Background: Spy satellites in the sky have helped in the recent moves to bring peace to one of the world's hottest trouble-spots - the Middle East.
The Middle-East cease-fire, policed by the United States, was in fact the first major test of the use of spy-planes and satellites in world-wide peace-keeping operations. It showed that the role of these electronic eavesdroppers extended to peace as well as to war.
The United States is reported to have used at least three system to monitor military movements in the Middle-East cease-fire zone; aerial photography by a 2000 m.p.h. 'spy-plane, the SR 71; television photography by satellites transmitting directly to earth; and photographs taken by an 8000 lb. (4000 kg) satellite that ejects its film over the Pacific Ocean.
At a height of 150 miles such satellites can photograph objects on earth only 20 feet long, and the pictures are much clearer than those sent by television.
The 2000 miles per hour (3310 km) SR 71, which made most of the news in the Middle east with its runs over the Israeli side of the cease-fire zone still employs the time-honoured techniques of aerial photography, but from a much higher altitude and at a much higher speed than in the past.
The U-2 fore-runners of these planes have frequently run into trouble over the Soviet Union, the People;s Republic of China and other countries in recent years. In 1965, the Chinese put on display in Peking outside the city's military museum the wreckage of four U-2's, which they claimed to have shot down. It is widely known that some of these high-flying spy planes are pilotless.
But although the U-2 type aircraft are still in business, the real aerial spy trade has with the development in rocketry passed to the reconnaissance satellites.
American and Soviet satellites in orbit now pass over us daily, among some 400 other man-made objects orbiting the earth.
So the satellite is a long-distance electronic eye. It can also bounce radar signals and photographs around the globe, record telephone traffic being transmitted by microwave radio links, and even detect secret industrial installations on the ground.
For the satellite spy-in-the-sky, future possibilities are endless.