Military satellite

A military satellite is an artificial satellite used for a military purpose. The most common missions are intelligence gathering, navigation and military communications.

A model of a German SAR-Lupe reconnaissance satellite inside a Cosmos-3M rocket

The first military satellites were photographic reconnaissance missions. Some attempts were made to develop satellite based weapons but this work was halted in 1967 following the ratification of international treaties banning the deployment of weapons of mass destruction in orbit.

As of 2013, there are 950 satellites of all types in Earth orbit. It is not possible to identify the exact number of these that are military satellites partly due to secrecy and partly due to dual purpose missions such as GPS satellites that serve both civilian and military purposes. As of December 2018 there are 320 known military or dual-use satellites in the sky, half of which are owned by the US, followed by Russia, China and India (13).[1]


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