Future Wings: Eyes in the Sky

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Technology Documentary hosted by Lance Lewman and published by Discovery Channel in 1998 - English narration

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Image: Future-Wings-Eyes-in-the-Sky-Cover.jpg

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This Discovery Channel documentary looks at the role of the unseen aerial equipment: drones, UAVs, stealth planes, satellites, etc. We learn that not all of these Eyes in the Sky are used for military purposes….. We start by looking at the world’s most notorious spy plane, the U-2, and its role in the Cuban missile crisis during the Cold War, before moving on to some of the most significant ‘eyes’ in today’s sky:

  • Global Hawk: a large, unmanned aerial vehicle – it has a 116 ft wingspan, a V-shaped tail and can cover 5,000 miles at a time, staying airborne for almost 2 whole days without refuelling – it is flown entirely by computer and feeds its info directly to a satellite to provide tactical reconnaissance
  • Dark Star: the world’s first unmanned stealth plane – first flown in 1996, it can fly without being noticed – it produces incredibly sharp images which it can bounce around the world in less then 2 seconds
  • Outrider: a small, unmanned bi-plane introduced in 1997 – it uses GPS to land
  • Cipher: a doughnut-shaped UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle) that is hard to see on radar – it flies at a height of 8,000 ft, uses GPS and is able to take off and land vertically
  • Pathfinder: an environmental research plane which cruises at only 15 miles per hour but at a height of 18 miles above the earth – it can fly for months at a time
  • Centurion: huge, solar-powered UAV with a 200 ft wingspan – it stays in the air for months and can monitor agriculture, tropical storms, forests fires, etc.

Other interesting surveillance and reconnaissance equipment included in this film:

- the Airborne Laser Project which is able to shoot down Scud missiles

- the AST (Airborne Surveillance Testbed) – ultra-sensitive infra-red sensors in an adapted Boeing 767 monitor missiles

- JSTARS: a satellite-linked reconnaissance system in an adapted Boeing 707

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[edit] Technical Specs

Video Codec: XviD Dev ver. 25-Mar-03
Video Bitrate: 851 kbps
Video Resolution: 512x384
Video Aspect Ratio: 1.333:1
Frames Per Second: 23.976
Audio Codec: 0x0055 MPEG-1 Layer 3
Audio Bitrate: 95kb/s VBR 32000 Hz
Audio Streams: 2
Audio Languages: English
RunTime Per Part: 51 mins
Number Of Parts: 1
Part Size: 366 MBytes
Subtitles: None
Ripped by: Unknown yet another find on ED2K

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