Contextualizing high resolution satellite systems of the United States
Snow, Emily Megan
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Satellite remote sensing continues to be refined at an incredible pace, yielding imagery with previously unimaginable spatial resolution. As this causes security and privacy concerns, an estimation of imaging capabilities for current classified and future commercial high resolution systems could aid policymakers in preparing for changes to come. To provide this estimation, this thesis traces the technological advancement of U.S. satellite remote sensing, incorporating both film photography and digital imaging systems, and places this information in its historical, political, and economic context. Based on historical trends, a formula has been calculated that estimates future capabilities, according to spatial resolution achieved. The resulting formula, y = 1E + 149e-0.171x, estimates that high resolution satellite systems in 2020 could yield imagery with 0.10 m resolution. This projection, along with advancements in international remote sensing programs, indicates major policy changes for high resolution imagery in the near future.