QUILL - The First Radar Imaging Satellite
by Dr. Robert Butterworth
July 9, 2012
QUILL was an experimental Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) satellite, based on the Corona satellite and available SAR hardware, which flew one time in 1964. Because of diplomatic and security concerns the brief mission imaged only selected targets with the United States. Those targets could be inspected on the ground to validate the intelligence value of orbital SAR without alerting the Soviets to the capability or touching off diplomatic protest over active illumination of sovereign territory. This was a proof-of-concept mission.
On July 9, 2012, Marshall Institute Director Dr. Robert L. Butterworth’s 2004 revision of his own history, The First Imaging Radar Satellite, was declassified and is available at http://www.nro.gov/foia/declass/QUILL/30.%20QUILL-The%20First%20Imaging%20Radar%20Satellite.pdf
More information on the QUILL satellite can be found at http://www.nro.gov/foia/declass/QUILL.html