"Samos II" - pioneer model of a reconnaissance satellite designed to photograph any point on earth - was launched by the US Air Force from Point Arguello, near Vandenberg Airbase in California, Jan 31.
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TWO VIEWS.. of radio scanners
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Background: "Samos II" - pioneer model of a reconnaissance satellite designed to photograph any point on earth - was launched by the US Air Force from Point Arguello, near Vandenberg Airbase in California, Jan 31. A two-stage Atlas-D carried the two-ton payload aloft, following the failure, last October, of "Samos II".
Circling the glove every 95 minutes at a maximum altitude of 350 miles and a minimum of 300 miles, the cigar-shaped 22 ft satellite is carrying "test photographic equipment". The US Air Force declined comment on whether this equipment will radio pictures back to earth.
SAMOS - the Satellite and Missile Observation System - will not be operative as a surveillance programme for at least another year. By that time scientists in the United States hope to have developed an orbiting space camera sensitive enough to take detailed pictures of enemy territory even by starlight. Most of the earth's surface could be covered by a camera in a polar orbit.