Accession Number:



Utility of A Satellite Vehicle For Reconnaissance.

Descriptive Note:

Corporate Author:


Report Date:


Pagination or Media Count:



The basic feasibility of satellites from the point of view of rocket performance was considered in a previous group of RAND reports. Refs. 3 through 14. That investigation pointed to several important conclusions. First, the engineering of a rocket vehicle of adequate performance for use as a satellite would require but minor development beyond the then existing technology. Secondly, the payload would have to be small not more than 2000 lb to keep the gross weight within reason hence destructive payloads are not likely to be economically worth while for many years to come. Thirdly, returning the vehicle to earth intact would be difficult and should not be attempted in the early versions. The above factors indicated that the payload would be restricted to instrumentation and communication equipment and prompted the RDB Technical Evaluation Group and the Air Force to request that further attention be given to the question of utility. RANDs effort since 1947 on the satellite study has been closely tied to the payload-its description and military usefulness. Most attention has been directed toward reconnaissance, since that is a field in which a satellite may very well show advantages over other types of vehicles. It now appears fortunate that reconnaissance was selected for the first payload investigation. As will be seen later in the report, pioneer reconnaissance general location and determination of appropriate targets and weather reconnaissance are suitable with the resolving power presently available to a satellite television system. These two classes of reconnaissance have also been growing in importance to the Air Force, because of the vastness of Russia and the difficulty of gaining information by conventional means.

Subject Categories:

  • Unmanned Spacecraft

Distribution Statement: