SIGINT is considered to be the most sensitive and important form of intelligence.These satellites provided one of the first warnings of the possibility of an Iraqi invasion ofKuwait. SIGINT satellites, however, are not capable of intercepting landline communications.SIGINT satellites need to intercept radio communications over a very large frequency range,typically from 100MHz to 25 GHz.
Reconnaissance satellite or Spy Satellite
By Shakir hussain
What is Reconnaissance Satellites
It’s Importance in war
The KH-11 Satellite
What is Reconnaissance Satellite
• It is a satellite that is used provide intelligence
information on the military activities of
• It can detect missile launches or nuclear
• This satellite can catch and record radio and
radar transmissions while passing over any
Types Of Reconnaissance
• Reconnaissance Satellite can be divided as
– Image intelligence (IMINT) or photosurveillance
– Signal intelligence (SIGINT) or ferret satellites
– Early warning satellites
– Measurement and signature intelligence
– Nuclear explosion detection satellites
Image intelligence (IMINT)
• Image intelligence satellites provide detailed high
resolution images and maps of geographical
areas, military installations and activities, troop
positions and other places of military interest.
• They are generally placed in low, near-polar orbits at
altitudes of 500–3000 km as they take high
resolution close-up images.
• Due to large atmospheric drag at these
altitudes, image intelligence satellites generally have
small lifetimes of the order of a few weeks.
• Interception and decryption of governmental, military
and diplomatic communications transmitted by radio.
• Interception of ESM (electronic support measure) signals
that characterize the operating modes of the higher
command organizations, installations of air
defence, missile forces and also the combat readiness of
foreign armed forces.
• Reception of telemetry signals during ballistic missile
• Relay of radio messages from CIA agents in foreign
Early Warning Satellites
• Early warning satellites constitute a significant part of
military systems. They provide timely information on
the launch of missiles, military aircraft and nuclear
explosions by the enemy.
• This information enables them to ensure treaty
compliance as well as provide an early warning of
missile attack for appropriate action.
Measurement and signature
• This satellite is used to detect, track, identify or
describe the signatures (distinctive characteristics) of
fixed or dynamic target sources.
• This often includes radar intelligence, acoustic
intelligence, nuclear intelligence, and chemical and
• “measurement" relates to the finite metric parameters
• "Signature" covers the distinctive features of
phenomena, equipment, or objects as they are sensed
by the collection instrument(s)
• Reconnaisance satellites or spy satellite have
become a very important factor in war and
• It provides information of sensitive areas.
• It provide position of Enemy, army patrol and
• These satellites played key role in Vietnam
war, Iraq war and the raid of capturing usama
• Developed countries like America uses spy
satellites with colloboration of cellular
companies to track and capture position of
• It may provide wrong results
• It can be hacked and it has been hacked
• Man made mistakes result in worse condition.
– In 2010 Three US special force soldier were killed
by drone attack by there mistake in afghanistan.
• Violation of Individual Rights
• Risk of Abuse
The KH-11 satellites
• The KH-11 KENNAN was spy satellite launched
by US in 1976.
• It was first American spy satellite to
use electro optical digital imaging, and create
a real-time optical observation capability.
• Typically used to take overhead photos for
The KH-11 satellites
• It’s design was leaked and then were officially
revealed by NASA.
• It contained telescopes with high tech
• The optics were designed for looking at
objects on Earth to provide up to 3.9 inch
resolution from 200 mi. altitude or higher.
Soviet ships under construction at the
Nikolaev shipyard on the Black Sea.
Chinese jet bomber Image
taken by an KH-11
Future of Spy Satellites
• Private companies like DigitalGlobe and
GeoEye have started providing spying services
• NRO(Natioanl Reconnaisance Office) have
stated to develop satellites with more power
full satellites having
– Nano-RAM Memory,
– Third-generation lithium ion batteries
– high-efficiency solar cells.
• Keyhole Satellites
• Reconnaisance Satellites and its types
Chapter No 14 AK Maini
• Importance and Disadvantages
• Future of Spy Satellites