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11 November 2006

A little noted anniversary

We have been remiss in failing to note the anniversary of the first acquisition of overhead imagery using an orbital platform – an outgrowth of the US post World War II tests of materials seized from the German V-2 program.

(A side note regarding word choices in this new century. That phrase previously would have read merely “postwar”, not needing a qualifier. However, for us the time period for that appellation is yet to arrive, and can only be achieved through definitive victory that will close out the Long War. Amazing, however, how the smallest artifacts of hardened mindsets can pop up at the most unexpected of times from unexamined assumptions and the rote of recited history…. But we digress.)

Mounting an effective imagery system for the first time on a missile platform was truly an astounding achievement, which deserves mention. Those early visionaries could foresee the capabilities that would grow out of the idea. And who could imagine that a few short decades later the peer of such achievements would be in reach of private enterprise?

In retrospect, perhaps the amazement at the future’s wonders need not have been so great. After all, less than half that time ago the best overhead imagery system available to the intelligence officer came equipped with feathers

(h/t BoingBoing, and of course the authors and editors at that finest of American institutions , the Smithsonian).