Utility of a Satellite Vehicle for Reconnaissance

by J. E. Lipp, Robert M. Salter, R. S. Wehner


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Utility of an earth-circling space vehicle as a reconnaissance device is considered here in detail. A satellite (initially placed on its orbit by rocket power) which televises ground scenes and weather information to surface receiving stations is investigated. Particular attention is given to the television, communication, and electrical-power-supply problems, since these are the major determining factors in payload utility of a reconnaissance satellite. Some important corollary aspects, namely attitude control and equipment reliability, are also discussed.

In order to round out the study, performance and weight estimates of the rocket vehicle required to carry a television payload are included.

The general conclusion of the report is that television satellites are feasible and that they would be useful if built and operated. Various essential lines of research in television, auxiliary power, and reliability are indicated.

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