LBJ LLBRARy Mandatory Review
SOVIET RECONNAISSANCE SATELLITE PROGRAM4
RECTORAT DIRECTORATE OF
E OF INTELLIGENCE SCIENCE AND
CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY4
SUBJECT: The Soviet Reconnaissance Satellite Program
A Soviet military reconnaissance satellite pro-grao appears to be well under way with possibly as many aslights The program usesvehiclesn. Tyuratan under "he mantle of the Cosnos series.
is program is expensive, possiblyi5 nucbi-riion dollars so far, and places added denands^'on resources available :or Soviet space programs^ equirement for precise targeting information on US targets, not obtainable throughans, seens to be the primary^reason for the progran. Also, Sovietof other military intelligence on the US coirld be usefully supplemented by satellite Khrushchev's open acknowledgments of the program have been aimed atlights over Cuba, but alsoesireaciton reconnaissance satellites. The existence of tbe Soviet program tends to reduce the likelihoodoviet attempt toS satellite.
1. We have concluded that the Soviet military reconnaissance satellite program may have involved as many aslights The evidence is convincing that these were military reconnaissance satellites, although they may have had additional missions. Their launch tines and orbits were ideallv
Prepared jointly by the Directorate of Science and Technology and the Directorate of Intelligence.
suited for reconnaissance coverage of the US during daylight hours, the payload was recovered they were earth oriented and stabilized within the requirementsophisticated cameraand telemetry from them reflected activity like thateconnaissance graphic payload.
tudy of the (TeJCosmos satellites
successiully launched from Tyuratam betweeni(26
reconna issa nee
April2 andleads us to believe
that four of then were military reconr
others probably were, probably were nofj
4. Moscow has held that the ou.-pose of the Cosmos series, which began in March was to
data> aine clear. however,
vehicles were being launched
from two different rangeheads, Kapustin Yar and Tyuratam.and the characteristics of theatellite* successiully orbited from Kapustin Yar rule reconnaissance mission.
Theuccessful Cosmos operatic 'uratam wftich we have examined are bellev
recovereo in the Soviet Union-three to ten
er coverage of
days after launching. The most recent in the Cosmos had an inclination ofegrees the equator, while aLl-previous Tyuratam Cosmos had inclinations ofegrees. This change suggests^that the Soviets are iaoroving their reconnaissance program, because the ejf-^osaosermitted great the US each dayT"?
h. Soviet statements: Khrushchevas alludeo to Soviet satellite rcconno issance on several occasions. e told Belgian Foreign Minister Spank that the Soviets werein photographing the United States and that he could produce the photographs to proveForwer Senator Benton also quoted Khrushchev as saying, during their recent meeting in Moscow, that Soviet space cameras have filaedons -
6. If we are correct Ln concluding that roostCosnos satellites launched from Tyuratam haveissance diss ion, ould seemoscowaha re of its space effortcollection of military intelligence.prelisinarv esticates hosed on the costs^of-satellites, the cost of Tyuratisto date nay have amounted to theaboutillion to one^billion dollars, percent of total expenditures estimated for allSovieta rough proportionestioate-r'the costsilitarytheatellites launched sobe on the orceriilion dollars^
Also important is the additional strain imposed on the human and material resources avail able for Soviet space programs by the demands of reconnaissance prograc.
We believe that the USSR has made this large investment /primarlly for missi le targjLti ng purposes. Stra tegic missile systemsreqa*freinformation on the geodetic^refStionship of tbe target to the launch pointy particularly in the case of hardened targets. The precise target lag information needed^bn the hundreds of targets
in the Ulis only^obtamable by satellite photog-
11, Despite the USSR's comparatively easy/ access to much information or. militarynd installations in the US it has requirements for military reconnaissancese for targeting data.
Io view of Soviet activity in thesatellite field, Moscow may be Doreof similar US programs than it has been in the past. Khrushchev's recent open acknowledgment of both US and Soviet efforts tends to bear this out. Although bis immediate objective in thesehas been toessationlights over Cuba, theyesire on his partacit understanding with the US on reconnaissance satellites.
We believe that the Sovietsi^enc^^Je-veloo an antisatellite capability.
enceevier reconnaissance satellite program tends to reduce the likelihoodoviet attempt: to destroy orS sa7Original document.