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Corona reconnaissance satellites (wikipedia.org)
26 points by DrScump on Nov 15, 2015 | hide | past | favorite | 4 comments

For anyone interested in the Cold War stuff, especially satellite image recovery. I recommend watching the movie (fictional) Ice Station Zebra [1]

Also, when it comes to satellites nothing blew my mind as much as learning the Hubble Space Telescope was initially created as a spy satellite [2]

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ice_Station_Zebra [2] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/KH-11_Kennan

The Hubble was not initially created as a spy satellite, but the two systems have some fundamental similarities due to basic constraints of the role and launch systems. Any such craft would have a large mirror, a light shield, an instrument bay behind the mirror, and solar panels. Exactly how close the KH-11 and HST designs are otherwise is entirely speculative since the KH-11 design is still classified.

Somewhat similar, but with a much different field of view, given that they have to focus on things much closer than hubble. A pair was recently donated to NASA,[1] and reported as KH-11s.[2] I guess they've moved on since the first 11 was launched in the '70s.

[1] http://www.space.com/16000-spy-satellites-space-telescopes-n... [2] http://www.americaspace.com/?p=20825

Here's more details (at least the unclassified ones) from the NRO site: http://www.nro.gov/history/csnr/corona/

And a press release on the 50th anniversary of first launch: http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/first-successful-cor...

(the press release has an obsolete link for the NRO page; the one I put at top here is correct)

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