Talk:Reconnaissance satellite

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Move debate[edit]

The following discussion is an archived debate of the proposal. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on the talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.

The result of the debate was no consensus. —Nightstallion (?) 10:01, 18 March 2006 (UTC)

This page should not have been moved as Wikipedia uses common names, not technical ones. Spy satellite is by far the more commonly used name.- SimonP 17:54, Aug 23, 2004 (UTC)

For whom is the term more common? In history or polisci classes, they use 'reconnaissance satellite' as well. I know, I have been there. And on TV documentaries, they use the same thing. "Spy satellite" is a negatively charged term that should not be used in an apolitical setting. It's not as if "reconnaissance satellite" is uncommon usage, either. -Joseph 18:13, 2004 Aug 23 (UTC)
The normal Wikipedia standard for determining common usage is Google hits, and "spy satellite" wins convincingly by this measure. At university I took a couple of History of Espionage classes and my professor would often refer to them as spy satellites. Even in academic texts spy satellite is often used, as a JSTOR search shows. - SimonP 18:53, Aug 24, 2004 (UTC)
I think we should put this to a vote. Articles are to remain NPOV, and 'spy satellite' is not an NPOV term. And if you're going to correct me, you'd better learn how to spell in the article text. -Joseph 19:42, 2004 Aug 24 (UTC)
Any poll would have to be one on revoking Wikipedia:Naming conventions (common names) as this is a perfect example of that rule. Also I would contest that "spy satellite" is a pejorative term. Rather I would view an American government euphemism as the more biased title. - SimonP 20:00, Aug 24, 2004 (UTC)
Simon, where did you go to college, may I ask?:-) Meanwhile, a brief question someone more knowledgable than me might want to answer in the article...Did film-return sats carry multiple film canisters? It's never mentioned. --Penta 01:26, 11 Dec 2004 (UTC)
  • Oppose moving from spy satellite, which is much more common. Jonathunder 23:40, 13 March 2006 (UTC)
  • Oppose moving from spy satellite; I agree that "spy" has some negative connotations, but the terms do seem to be used interchangeably, with "reconnaissance" used more euphemistically than as a broader term; in the event that "reconnaissance" could be applied to "satelllite" in a broader sense than that used here (intelligence gathering) then I'd support creation of a separate, more general article and have the present article avaialble via a {{main}} link in context. User:Ceyockey (talk to me) 00:44, 14 March 2006 (UTC)
  • Support (weakly) moving from spy satellite, but I have mixed feelings. Re "an American government euphemism...biased title" , keep in mind there are many types of reconnaissance satellites: U.S. military, non-U.S. military, and civillian, e.g, [1].
If this rename doesn't happen, does that mean we should change the commercial QuickBird high-res imaging satellite to be "commercial spy satellite?". Or what about the European SPOT satellite? Or the Indian Remote Sensing satellite? Are "earth observation satellite" and "remote sensing satellite" also biased titles? Or is it only a biased euphamistic title when applying to American military satellites? What about the Israeli EROS (satellite) commerical imaging satellite, which is based on their Ofeq military recon sat?
Wikipedia articles use the term "reconnaissance satellite" more than "spy satellite". Within articles there are already more hyperlink redirects from reconnaissance satellite to spy satellite than vice versa. It would seem changing this article title would improve internal consistency. OTOH I don't think "spy satellite" is a very perjorative term. Also "reconnaissance" is harder to say, spell and type than "spy". But a redirect page can handle that just as it does now.
Common usage is a guideline, not a hard and fast rule. As mentioned above there are various issues that must be weighed when naming an article. Often there are entanglements to many other articles, as exists here.
BTW the latest generation of commercial imaging satellites have better resolution than military recon sats did not that long ago. Quickbird has 61 cm resolution. During the Gulf War, SPOT images were voluntarily witheld because of potential military value -- to prevent SPOT's use as a commercial "spy satellite". The issue is bigger than just military recon satellites, or a quick decision based only on common usage. The whole thing needs careful thought. Joema 02:14, 14 March 2006 (UTC)
  • Support it's more encyclopedic, so whether or not it's "more common" it is more proper, even though it's less cool. Like ninja stars (okay, bad example) —Fitch 00:49, 17 March 2006 (UTC)
  • If you couldn't already tell, support.
The above discussion is preserved as an archive of the debate. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on this talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.

Erhard Kietz[edit]

This guy is mentioned in "see also" as having something to do with the Cuban Missile Crisis. His individual page says nothing about the Cuban Missile Crisis, spy satellites, etc. It seems he researched electrical recording devices. I'm not at all sure that he is eminently relevant to spy satellites, and suggest that his name be removed from the "see also" section.


I think this article needs to be expanded. What technology it use, how it works, what it does, etc...


"No consensus?" There were three "pro" votes and two "nay" votes on the topic of renaming. —Joseph/N328KF (Talk) 14:38, 7 June 2006 (UTC)

Yes, and one of the "pro" votes was only weakly in favour, plus "use common names" seemed to be in favour of the current name. —Nightstallion (?) 14:40, 7 June 2006 (UTC)
  • I cannot understand why spy is not a neutral term. A spy satellite is a spy. It spies on others. Reconnaissance is spying. Call a spy a spy.--user talk:hillgentleman 02:48, 27 January 2007 (UTC)

Satellite surveillance[edit]

Can someone expand on the Satellite surveillance aspects? Especiall in reguards to privacy concerns and military operations? 19:01, 26 June 2006 (UTC)

Broken link removed[edit]

Changed the wording on the sentence regarding the name[edit]

It had previously stated that some people regard the term spy satellite in a negative sense... I changed the wording to that it was preferred to be called reconnaisance satellite by some, I felt that the version that stated spy satellite carried a negative connotation was a very one-sided opinion that would be argued by many if not everyone... I dont really think that anyone EXCEPT the governments that employ them regard the term "spy satellite" as offensive or unsavory... To the majority (and to wikipedia's standard of neutrality) spy satellite is just another item to study and learn about, not to label as being something negative. Realistically THEY ARE USED TO SPY, so "spy satellite" is a very apt term. I've never heard of reconnaisance that wasn't absorbed as intelligence. Species2112 04:33, 18 April 2007 (UTC)

Indian spy satellite[edit]

CARTOSAT -2 has been mentioned as India's spy satetllite. Are there any links to support this statements? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 04:57, 28 April 2008 (UTC)

naming conventions[edit]

For what it's worth, a huge amount of intelligence is gathered from commercial sources. Are you suggesting that commercially-available imaging products are "spy satellites"? That seems a bit harsh. ... aa:talk 22:20, 27 May 2008 (UTC)


At present this article is undefined, no source is used to explain the term, instead we have a personal interpretation and amplification, followed by some cherry picking of sources and half explored issues. Does anyone have anyhting that defines this?

ALR (talk) 07:43, 5 October 2009 (UTC)

Globalize tag -- very United States-centric article[edit]

The article seems extremely focused on US spy satellite in terms of its examples (with only one mention of a Soviet one). In particular, the history section only deals with the US side. It might be better to have more information on the parallel development of Soviet and US satellites, as well as other countries' catching up. -Kieran (talk) 20:52, 30 January 2012 (UTC)

In the Spy Satellite page there is no information given about the Indian Spy Satellite RISAT[edit]

The title Spy Satellite directs to, there is no info given about the Indian Spy satellite RISAT, though a separate page exists for RISAT 1 and RISAT 2, they have not been mentioned in the Spy Satellite page. I wish the links for RISAT 1 and RISAT 2 are provided in Spy Satellite page. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Madhusudhan27 (talkcontribs) 21:28, 16 December 2012 (UTC)

Madhusudhan27 (talk) 08:38, 17 December 2012 (UTC)

References for improvement[edit]

Here are some references that might be useful for those expanding the article, entered as citation templates already:

History of some US satellites: Guillemette, Roger (September 18, 2011). "Declassified US Spy Satellites Reveal Rare Look at Secret Cold War Space Program". Retrieved February 16, 2014. 

News story on the history of russian anti-satellite weaponry: Zak, Anatoly (November 1, 2013). "The Hidden History of the Soviet Satellite-Killer". Popular Mechanics. Retrieved February 16, 2014. 

There's quite a good deal of history in this book, but it doesn't focus on the "spy" part much: Brzezinski, Matthew (2008). Red Moon Rising: Sputnik and the Hidden Rivalries that Ignited the Space Age. Holt Paperbacks. ISBN 978-0805088588. 

Background on some satellite technology: David, Leonard (January 03, 2005). "Anatomy of a Spy Satellite". Retrieved February 16, 2014.  Check date values in: |date= (help)

Other articles covering related topics that may be useful to get references from:

There are also a number of "references" in the "Further reading" section that need to be turned into inline citations. 0x0077BE [talk/contrib] 01:57, 17 February 2014 (UTC)

The missing book[edit]

It is Deep Black: Space Espionage and National Security by William E. Burrows, which is the first really excellent book on the subject. It was used by the CIA for years as introductory reading material for new officers. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:21, 26 June 2014 (UTC)