In 1954, three years before the launch of Sputnik 1, the world’s first satellite, top-secret discussions were held in the United States to plan the development of military spy satellites, designed to obtain detailed photography of the Soviet Union’s military strength, and its potential for waging nuclear war. This book takes a detailed look at the programmes which resulted from the clandestine decision in the US to build highly secret spy satellites in parallel with civilian space plans, revealing for the first time previously classified details of the design and layout of photographic reconnaissance (spy) satellites including the Manned Orbiting Laboratory (MOL), America’s planned military space station. The author has obtained declassified material, lifting the veil of secrecy covering exactly what spy satellites are, how they operate, what their limitations are and what they look like. This book focuses on the development of the spy satellites themselves and on the political arena in which their successes, and failures, were played out, providing a fascinating insight into a secretive world.
Dr. David Baker worked with NASA on the Gemini, Apollo and Shuttle programmes between 1965 and 1990. He has written more than 80 books on spaceflight technology and is the author of the Haynes NASA Space Shuttle Manual, International Space Station Manual, NASA Mars Rovers Manual, Apollo 13 Manual, Soyuz Manual, Rocket Manual and forthcoming Hubble Space Telescope Manual. He lives in East Sussex.