Re: Imaging Spacecraft [See August Sky & Telescope]

Larry Klaes (
Fri, 28 Jun 1996 13:33:23 -0400 (EDT)

On Thu, 27 Jun 1996, John Pike wrote:

> The good news is that this is a high-visibility pitch for visual 
> satellite tracking and imaging, and that some reasonably impressive 
> results are displayed in the form of an image of STS docked with Mir -- 
> these results using a 12 inch scope seem not terribly less impressive 
> than those published images obtained using much larger apertures.

Is the following true:  That in the 1980s certain aspects of the US
military intelligence network had ground-based telescopes that could
count the rivets on an orbiting Soyuz?  Apparently they checked for
NASA the number of missing tiles on Columbia's first space flight in 
1981.  And would it be wrong to conclude that they can do even better
these days?