How Good Are Modern Spy Satellites?

Today we saw how spy planes get eye exams just like you and me. How good are they, though?

Yes, spy planes test their vision on eye charts, just like people and just like microscopes, as  manifold engines explained. But it was a point made by Smorgasborg that really got us thinking.

The really interesting part of all this is the fact that many pictures taken by relatively old satellites, like the KH-9 Hexagon are still classified because they are so good. I can't even begin to guess what kind of insane resolution and light spectrum capabilities our current spy satellites have.

Here's a video about the Hexagon system. It's long, but very interesting.

So now we’re wondering, just how good are current surveillance satellites? And how long will it be before any of their images are declassified?

Photo Credit: National Reconnaissance Office