Secret Sentries in Space

Title:                      Secret Sentries in Space

Author:                 Philip J. Klass

Klass, Philip J. (1971). Secret Sentries in Space. New York, Random House

LCCN:    77143994

UG633 .K54

Subjects

Date Updated:  May 2, 2016

Reviewed by George C. Constantinides[1]

As the senior avionics editor of Aviation Week and Space Technology, Klass was quite knowledgeable on his subject at the time. The book’s jacket called this the first report on the secret satellites of the United States and the USSR. It is a well written history of the development of various generations of reconnaissance satellites of the two countries, with greater knowledge displayed of the U. S. side. Klass also presented his views of their value to international stability as a result of the intelligence they provide. Because of this value, he wished to bring them to the public’s attention and called for removal of some security wraps. This was subsequently done by the U. S. president who officially admitted such reconnaissance capabilities.[2] The work has been favorably commented on by many reviewers, and one in the USNI Proceedings called it “the most definitive book available on U. S. photographic satellite systems.”[3] Blackstock and Schaf[4] described it as a remarkable exposé of the development of these programs and the reasons for them. Klass indeed showed his grasp and vast store of knowledge, including an awareness of some matters that were still classified at the time. Note that he foresaw the danger of satellite killers and recognized them as well within the state of the art. A very good introduction and nontechnical explanation of satellite reconnaissance, though specific details are not always precise.

This is a review by the Defense Intelligence School.[5]

The former senior editor for Aviation Week and Space Technology magazine provides an interesting and informative discussion of the development and constant improvement of space satellites. Using open sources, he describes the evolution of unmanned reconnaissance vehicles from the early years, emphasizing the U.S. program while summarizing what is known from the open press about the Soviet efforts. Of particular interest are his comments on the capabilities and limitations of space vehicles for intelligence purposes, as well as their value in policing arms limitation agreements and generally assisting in the maintenance of peace. The book covers material not available elsewhere in one volume at the time of publication.

Reviewed by Paul W. Blackstock and Frank L. Schaf[6]

A comprehensive study of the genesis and development of intelligence reconnaissance and surveillance space satellites in the United States and Soviet Union. It is knowledgeably set against the background of growing ICBM-nuclear threats, increasing political tension, and absolute requirements for intelligence information that could provide firm proofs to supplement conventional intelligence estimates. This technical but easily read book by the senior avionics editor of Aviation Week And Space Technology (which consistently publishes information on U.S. and USSR advances in intelligence spacecraft and aircraft), is a must for an overall appreciation of the role and characteristics of “secret” photographic, communications, and electronic intelligence spacecraft.

[1] Constantinides, George C. (1983). Intelligence and Espionage: An Analytical Bibliography. Boulder, CO: Westview Press, p. 275

[2] President Jimmy Carter, in a speech at the Kennedy Space Center, acknowledged that the U.S. was operating photoreconnaissance satellites.

[3] Obviously in 2015 much more is known than was at that time, but this unclassified work revealed a considerable amount, much of which gave physicists the ability to compute some highly classified numbers.

[4] Blackstock, Paul W.(1978) and Schaf, Frank L. Jr. Intelligence, Espionage, Counterespionage And Covert Operations: A Guide to Information Sources. Detroit: Gale Research Co.

[5] Defense Intelligence School (1981). Bibliography of Intelligence Literature: A Critical And Annotated Bibliography of Open-Source Literature (7th ed, rev.). Washington, DC: Defense Intelligence School, p. 38

[6] Blackstock, Paul W. (1978) and Frank L. Schaf, Jr. Intelligence, Espionage, Counterespionage, And Covert Operations: A Guide to Information Sources. Detroit: Gale Research Co., p.

agazine provides an interesting and informative discussion of the development and constant improvement of space satellites. Using open sources, he describes the evolution of unmanned reconnaissance vehicles from the early years, emphasizing the U.S. program while summarizing what is known from the open press about the Soviet efforts. Of particular interest are his comments on the capabilities and limitations of space vehicles for intelligence purposes, as well as their value in policing arms limitation agreements and generally assisting in the maintenance of peace. The book covers material not available elsewhere in one volume at the time of publication.

[1] George C. Constantinides in Intelligence and Espionage: An Analytical Bibliography. Boulder, CO: Westview Press (1983), p. 275

[2] President Jimmy Carter, in a speech at the Kennedy Space Center, acknowledged that the U.S. was operating photoreconnaissance satellites.

[3] Obviously in 2015 much more is known than was at that time, but this unclassified work revealed a considerable amount, much of which gave physicists the ability to compute some highly classified numbers.

[4] Blackstock, Paul W.(1978) and Schaf, Frank L. Jr. Intelligence, Espionage, Counterespionage And Covert Operations: A Guide to Information Sources. Detroit: Gale Research Co.

[5] Defense Intelligence School (1981). Bibliography of Intelligence Literature: A Critical And Annotated Bibliography of Open-Source Literature (7th ed, rev.). Washington, DC: Defense Intelligence School, p. 38

 

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4 Responses to Secret Sentries in Space

  1. Pingback: Scientific and Technical Intelligence, Chapter 10 | Intelligence Analysis and Reporting

  2. Pingback: Communications and Electronic Intelligence, Chapter 112 | Intelligence Analysis and Reporting

  3. Pingback: Intelligence, Espionage, Counterespionage And Covert Operations | Intelligence Analysis and Reporting

  4. Pingback: Blackstock Selected Bibliography of Fifty Titles | Intelligence Analysis and Reporting

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