I have talked about how imaging changed the Space Race before. Here is a video of a one-day public showing of the KH-9 satellites that were a direct competitors to the Almaz space stations on the Russian side. KH9 are the unmanned spacecrafts that competed directly with the manned spacecafts for observations. The main reason there was a competition between the two technologies is because of the cloud cover. The unmanned approach pushed for developing software onboard to remove cloudy images and then process the rest on Earth while the manned or human-in-the-loop approach bet on the capability of humans for adaptively track targets in order to only transmit important information on the ground.
more videos and photos of this one day only showing at the Smithsonian can be seen here.
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