- Nov 13, 2009
- Reaction score
Interesting on the lengths the nation has gone to in the recovery of precious photo imagery.
Now, these too: Gambit 1 KH-7, Gambit 3 KH-8 and Hexagon KH-9One of those planes, as well as a capsule (or at least a model) is in Dayton at the US Air Force museum.
Great video. Thanks.The AIAA has a book:
Meeting the Challenge: The Hexagon KH-9 Reconnaissance Satellite
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From the AIAA website:
Meeting the Challenge: The Hexagon KH-9 Reconnaissance Satellite is the recently declassified story of the design, development, production, and operation of the Hexagon KH-9 reconnaissance satellite, which provided invaluable photographic intelligence to the U.S. government, and stands as one of the most complicated systems ever put into space. Former Perkin-Elmer engineer Phil Pressel has written the definitive account of this important chapter in U.S. intelligence and aerospace history, featuring both technical details and historical anecdotes.
Developed by the Perkin-Elmer Corporation, and operated between 1971 and 1986, Hexagon was the last film-based orbiting photoreconnaissance satellite. The Hexagon project yielded many important achievements: stereo photography of the entire surface of the Earth; ability to precisely control the synchronization of film traveling at up to 200 inches per second at the focal plane, on a rotating camera in a moving vehicle while focused on the rotating Earth; exposure of sixty miles of film on each mission; development and use of new and sophisticated electronics, such as LEDs and brushless motors; and use of the world's largest spherical thermal vacuum chamber to test the system.
The book gives some insight into the systems of the satellite and putting it all together. It is done mostly from the memories of people involved, so I find it a little short on technical detail (for my engineering brain). It does highlight some of the cleverness involved. Film feed and uptake reels were contra-rotating so as to not torque the satellite attitude. Further complicating the task was that the feed and takeup reels were both operated at a constant speed, regardless of how full or empty the reels were :surprised: The entire camera system (double because it was stereo photographs) had to be pressurised to prevent the film outgassing whilst in space.
Not a bad read.
Just found a presentation by the author on YouTube: