"Beyond Top Secret"
CBS Eye on America
CBS Evening News 04 Feb 98

The Radar Satellite

[This is a partial transcript, along with some vidcaps, from the broadcast. The narration is provided by CBS Pentagon correspondent David Martin, and the words in quotations are on-camera comments by sources.]

Behind a door where cameras have never been sits one of this country's most tightly guarded technological treasures. A spy satellite. As big as a greyhound bus, costing more than half a billion dollars. And until this day manufactured in total secrecy at the Lockheed Martin plant outside Denver.

"A lot of years we have worked on this stuff, and you can't tell your friends or folks what you do"

Glenn Johnson still is not permitted to say what this satellite does, but we can tell you its a radar satellite that takes pictures through darkness and clouds.

The Communications Satellite

This is the first time the NRO has acknowledged its satellites send their pictures back to Earth in real time, and this satellite hear is what makes it happen. Its a relay satellite and it takes in images from a photo satellite on the other side of the world and transmits them down to a giant antenna at a ground station in the US.

"And thats all done at the speed of light, so its a real-time system."

Don Kromer runs Hughes Space and Communications.

"And that is of extreme value to the decision makers in the country to understand what's going on in the world.

So basically we're talking DirectTV here.

"We're talking directTV here from an intelligence viewpoint. That's correct."