The Soviet Union placed a series of nuclear-powered, radar-equipped ocean reconnaissance satellites, known as RORSATs in the west, into Earth orbit beginning in 1967. Employing powerful radars and working in pairs, these spacecraft kept an eye on U.S. ships for Soviet naval forces. Image
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Leonard David has beenreporting on the space industry for more than four decades. He is pasteditor-in-chief of the National Space Society's Ad Astra and Space Worldmagazines and has written for SPACE.com since 1999.