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How U.S. Spy Satellites Predicted Russian Invasion – Part 1

Daniel Kim Views  

The U.S. possesses the world’s most powerful spy satellite
Keyhole means peeking through a keyhole
KH-13·KH-14 can identify 5cm objects
About $1 billion per unit

美 첩보위성 성능은…600km 상공서 5㎝ 물체도 식별[이현호 기자의 밀리터리!톡]
A captured image of the U.S. military reconnaissance satellite Keyhole (KH)-12. Photo=global security capture

1998 film Enemy of the State, watchers might remember scenes of individuals being observed and tracked in real-time from satellites. While it was just a scene in a movie and technically considered impossible at the time, similar situations are occurring today.

In times of war, thoroughly understanding the enemy’s movements and information is a top priority, as stated in The Art of War. It becomes a powerful weapon. This is surveillance with advancing cutting-edge science and technology; we can now photograph and understand the enemy from space using cameras. This is the role of reconnaissance satellites.

The most representative case is the war between Russia and Ukraine. President Biden of the United States predicted just before the outbreak of the Russo-Ukrainian war that “Russian forces will invade Ukraine within a few days,” and President Putin of Russia dismissed Biden’s claim, calling it “a vain delusion.” However, President Biden refuted, “We know everything,” and as predicted by President Biden, Russia fully invaded Ukraine six days later.

How could the United States confidently predict Russia’s invasion? It was possible because it had the most powerful spy satellites in the world. The satellites could closely monitor the movement routes of Russian troops, missile trends in the mountains, and the movements of armored vehicles and tanks.

Spy Satellites, the Best at Peeping at Other Countries

The U.S. spy satellites detected early on that Russia had amassed an army of approximately 100,000 to 130,000 near the Ukrainian border, using a variety of reconnaissance aircraft and drones, along with the most advanced artificial satellites. The photographic information from these sources captured every detail, such as the tanks and cannons deployed by the Russian army. Based on this, it is known that President Biden warned of the possibility of a Russian invasion.

The United States spy satellites have played a significant role in Ukraine’s ability to sustain a war with Russia for over two years. Military experts suggest that the U.S. assists Ukraine in developing countermeasures by analyzing the data collected by reconnaissance satellites, Air Force unmanned reconnaissance aircraft, drones, and commercial satellites and then providing it to Ukraine in real-time. As a result, Ukraine has effectively defended against the powerful Russian military despite its comparative military weakness.

Most military superpowers have spy satellites peeping at other countries, taking pictures, understanding the major buildings in the heart of different countries, and keeping track of their movements. While it’s not a physical attack, having real-time access to the other party’s information can have the same effect as threatening them with a weapon. This is why claims are made that a silent attack occurs in outer space. Without exception, foreign spy satellites are peeping at the Korean Peninsula from our airspace.

美 첩보위성 성능은…600km 상공서 5㎝ 물체도 식별[이현호 기자의 밀리터리!톡]
The shape of the U.S.’s representative reconnaissance satellite Keyhole has never been officially revealed, but it is known to be similar in shape and structure to the Hubble Space Telescope. Pictured is the Hubble Space Telescope. Photo provided by NASA

The technology to observe the Earth from satellites has developed through the Cold War era centered around the U.S. and the former Soviet Union. For this reason, the level of U.S. spy satellites is undoubtedly the best in the world. Spy satellites include reconnaissance satellites, early warning satellites, and eavesdropping satellites. Among them, the most representative is the reconnaissance satellite. Reconnaissance satellites look down at the ground to examine enemy movements and terrain to gather necessary operational data.

The United States’ most potent spy satellite is the Keyhole (KH) reconnaissance satellite, named after peeping through a keyhole. The abbreviation KH is used to refer to this satellite, which is also known as the U.S. Optical Reconnaissance Satellite. It is available in various models, from KH-1 to KH-14, produced mainly by Lockheed Martin Corporation. In 1994, Lockheed Martin Corporation began developing the IKONOS commercial earth observation satellite, which could capture high-resolution images. Since 2000, they have been selling 1m-class photos, opening up the commercial high-resolution satellite market. This development has spurred many countries to establish plans for acquiring high-resolution observation satellites.

Spy satellites are usually located in low Earth orbits at about 186-372 miles. They must observe from as low an altitude as possible to understand what is happening in a particular region. Additionally, the image’s resolution increases as the satellite gets closer to the ground. Therefore, reconnaissance satellites do not just comfortably press the shutter in their orbit but sometimes use drastic movements to come down as close to the Earth as possible.

To Read Part 2…
To Read Part 3…
To Read Part 4…

Daniel Kim
content@viewusglobal.com

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