A number of commercial satellite systems have been proposed for operation in the 1997 time-frame with a capability to image at one-meter GSD. For reconnaissance applications, several key attributes determine system utility, including image interpretability, timeliness, area coverage capability, revisit frequency, satellite agility and metric accuracy. Interpretability, or the ability to extract intelligent information from an image, is driven by a variety of key parameters including edge sharpness, signal- to-noise ratio, spectral information and radiometric accuracy. Metric accuracy results from a system's ability to accurately reconstruct an image to a ground coordinate system--both with and without the use of ground control--to an accuracy required for mission planning, weapons delivery and mapping. Timeliness is driven primarily by the ability of the satellite constellation to access the same geographic location in short time intervals and at adequate GSD; sufficient agility is required to access multiple distributed point targets and collect large-area coverage for search applications. Unlike airborne reconnaissance, a satellite system's ability to deliver timely data can be adversely affected by cloud cover. Hence, frequent low-GSD revisit with dynamic tasking and collection capability are critical measures of effectiveness. Analytical descriptions and photographic simulations depict the interaction with and effect on these reconnaissance utility drivers as a function of the key system parameters.