the resolution they could get on satellite imagery back in the very late 1960s was stunning, at the time. These days, the stories about reading license plates or doing facial recognition at an angle from space do not seem far fetched at all.
I recall while waiting my turn in the barber’s chair, during JFK’s presidency, reading an article in Esquire Magazine about the quality of photographic lenses available for satellite imagery. A Japanese 1,000 mm lens for 35 mm cameras was said to be refined enough that if somehow the atmospheric imperfections could be removed, the lens would resolve tightly enough to enable reading a typical newspaper headline in Washington, D. C., from New York City. I don’t suppose they’ve gotten worse since then.