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Nation: Comrade Camera

1 minute read
TIME

When Ronald Kley, a research associate for the Maine State Museum in Augusta, wanted a satellite photograph of the state for a museum exhibit, he naturally got in touch with NASA. No luck there, nor with the Weather Bureau or the Air Force. The angles of orbiting U.S. satellites are such that their cameras distort details north of Chesapeake Bay.

On a whim, Kley then wrote to the Soviet embassy in Washington, which put him in touch with the Soviet Academy of Sciences. Certainly, said the Russians. They offered a good clear satellite shot not just of Maine but of the entire coast from Long Island to Newfoundland. The Soviets’ candid space cameras are obviously positioned to snap perfect views of the parts of the world that interest them most. If Kley had asked the U.S. agencies for an aerial picture of Uzbekistan, they probably could have obliged.

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