LT, no question about the easily available technology today. My interest was in just how far the Soviets were able to get back in the pre-1990 days. What still isn’t in print anywhere that I can find is the resolution that existed way back then. It was far better than almost anyone in the general public would hardly believe, if they heard what could be spotted (and read) back in the 60s and 70s. But then most people don’t have any idea just how incredible it was to put the YF-12 (SR-71) in the air by 1962, with the first orders already being placed by 1960. Kelly Johnson was already working on the concepts in the mid-50s. The technology was beyond anything they even had at the time, and production equipment and techniques had to literally be invented for that bird to ever fly. Despite the early 1962 first flight, it was 30 years before the project was ever officially made public.
We were way ahead of the Soviets, but they were doing what North Korea is doing today – funneling all their money into military projects, not their “citizens.” One can only wonder what we (AND they) have these days, especially when I’ve never seen any indication that resolution from space in the late 1960s has even yet been declassified. Probably to do so would give away far too much about where we’ve likely come today. I have an interesting certain sense that when Trump tells Lil’ Kim that he really doesn’t want to see what happens if they push us too far, there’s so much more behind that than we have any idea. It could be fun to watch, but then we’d also be giving away our capabilities that the Chicoms and Ruskies can only suspect thus far (hence all the missile launches by NK trying to draw us into showing what we’ve got – quite likely at their Chinese buddies’ requests).