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Decades later, a Cold War secret is revealed

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posted on Jan, 11 2013 @ 05:19 PM
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ANBURY, Conn. (AP) — For more than a decade they toiled in the strange, boxy-looking building on the hill above the municipal airport, the building with no windows (except in the cafeteria), the building filled with secrets. They wore protective white jumpsuits, and had to walk through air-shower chambers before entering the sanitized "cleanroom" where the equipment was stored. They spoke in code. Few knew the true identity of "the customer" they met in a smoke-filled, wood-paneled conference room where the phone lines were scrambled. When they traveled, they sometimes used false names.

news.yahoo.com...

The Perkin-Elmer Corp in Norwalk also made the mirror for the Hubble Space Telescope.




posted on Jan, 11 2013 @ 05:27 PM
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that just goes to show the government is 40 years ahead of us in technology.



posted on Jan, 11 2013 @ 05:31 PM
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reply to post by nighthawk1954
 



"Ah, Hexagon," Ed Newton says, gleefully exhaling the word that stills feels almost treasonous to utter in public.

It was dubbed "Big Bird" and it was considered the most successful space spy satellite program of the Cold War era. From 1971 to 1986 a total of 20 satellites were launched, each containing 60 miles of film and sophisticated cameras that orbited the earth snapping vast, panoramic photographs of the Soviet Union, China and other potential foes.

The film was shot back through the earth's atmosphere in buckets that parachuted over the Pacific Ocean, where C-130 Air Force planes snagged them with grappling hooks.

The scale, ambition and sheer ingenuity of Hexagon KH-9 was breathtaking. The fact that 19 out of 20 launches were successful (the final mission blew up because the booster rockets failed) is astonishing.


I felt it would help to post some 'meat' from this article. You can thank me later.



posted on Jan, 11 2013 @ 05:56 PM
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Thanks!
edit on 14-1-2013 by ADVISOR because: bI'm in a good mood and don't want one line some one...*cough*..




posted on Jan, 12 2013 @ 03:02 AM
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Thats crazy. My office building is right next to an airport. And there's a hill with a weird building matching that description on it. And huge security cameras all over. I wonder if this building serves the same purpose...



posted on Jan, 12 2013 @ 06:32 PM
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I do believe there is an older thread discussing this story.



posted on Jan, 14 2013 @ 12:09 AM
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Originally posted by misse2miss
that just goes to show the government is 40 years ahead of us in technology.


This isn't true. The "government", except for the National Laboratories, plus the 3 service R&D labs, doesn't have technology. They buy technology---notice it was the government handing them money and hiring people with advanced degrees. And they didn't know how to do it when they started. Sometimes it's just a matter of money and time.

edit on 14-1-2013 by mbkennel because: (no reason given)
edit on 14-1-2013 by mbkennel because: (no reason given)



posted on Jan, 14 2013 @ 12:13 AM
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reply to post by misse2miss
 


That was a decade ago or so, now it is closer to 60 years.

Advancement in technology is progressing at a much more rapid rate.
Just remember, in WWII, while every one was listening to a radio for entertainment.
The government had color TV.

edit on 14-1-2013 by ADVISOR because: (no reason given)



posted on Jan, 14 2013 @ 12:20 AM
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It was dubbed "Big Bird" and it was considered the most successful space spy satellite program of the Cold War era. From 1971 to 1986 a total of 20 satellites were launched, each containing 60 miles of film and sophisticated cameras that orbited the earth snapping vast, panoramic photographs of the Soviet Union, China and other potential foes. The film was shot back through the earth's atmosphere in buckets that parachuted over the Pacific Ocean, where C-130 Air Force planes snagged them with grappling hooks.


So let me get this straight...

The missions involved sending satellites with 60 miles of film to spy on and record global activities, which was eventually retrieved physically, yet the Apollo missions were broadcast from the moon to TV sets everywhere?

Can anyone explain this to me?

Don't misunderstand, I'm not trying to start any kind of moon debate. I'm just trying to figure out why they couldn't transmit the satellite's activities through wireless means as well. Is the difference a matter of the quality of the footage?
edit on 14-1-2013 by Proctor11 because: (no reason given)



posted on Jan, 14 2013 @ 12:35 AM
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Originally posted by Proctor11


It was dubbed "Big Bird" and it was considered the most successful space spy satellite program of the Cold War era. From 1971 to 1986 a total of 20 satellites were launched, each containing 60 miles of film and sophisticated cameras that orbited the earth snapping vast, panoramic photographs of the Soviet Union, China and other potential foes. The film was shot back through the earth's atmosphere in buckets that parachuted over the Pacific Ocean, where C-130 Air Force planes snagged them with grappling hooks.


So let me get this straight...

The missions involved sending satellites with 60 miles of film to spy on and record global activities, which was eventually retrieved physically, yet the Apollo missions were broadcast from the moon to TV sets everywhere?

Can anyone explain this to me?


Yes. The resolution and bandwidth of the film was much better than the video cameras from the Apollo.
The NRO (the actual agency in question) with the CIA photo analysts computed the resolution necessary to get adequate intelligence.

This film, let's remember was very long rolls of large format film----think millions of super-Hasselblad pictures---Ansel Adams and not 1969 NTSC television.

And the apollo astronauts also took film cameras for the same reason.



Don't misunderstand, I'm not trying to start any kind of moon debate. I'm just trying to figure out why they couldn't transmit the satellite's activities through wireless means as well. Is the difference a matter of the quality of the footage?
edit on 14-1-2013 by Proctor11 because: (no reason given)


And the bandwith and storage capacity. There wasn't enough storage remotely available, certainly on board a satellite, to be able to store images of that quality when they were over the USSR and then retransmit. Simply put electronics were not that good. It was all analog---and 1970's video tape added lots of noise.

Today, with large CCD sensors and much more sophisticated digital communications and a large network of interlinked satellite data routers (possibly using point to point laser communications) they don't use expendable film any more. And even still a Government official told me personally a little more than 10 years ago that the bandwidth problem was still a critical constraint. They are able to take more pictures than they can transmit, and may have to intentionally discard most of them. There are huge demands on the intelligence satellite data network (think of all the real-time drone wars) and the total bandwidth available is much much less than ground fiberoptic networks.

I have no personal knowledge but I wouldn't be surprised if there are image analysis algorithms now loaded on board imagery satellites and aircraft to attempt to make a first-cut triage of imagery to retain and imagery to discard before transmitting to ground stations.
edit on 14-1-2013 by mbkennel because: (no reason given)
edit on 14-1-2013 by mbkennel because: (no reason given)



posted on Jan, 14 2013 @ 01:57 AM
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The 6594th Test Group operated out of Hickam from 1958 until 1986. The unit motto was "To Catch A Falling Star", and they were there to catch falling film canisters from satellites. By the time they were disbanded, they had caught something like 40,000 canisters. They operated C-130/KC-130 aircraft, as well as HH-53 helicopters.

They were still there when we transferred back to Hickam in 1983. Depending on where the canister was coming down determined which aircraft went out. Sometimes it was a helicopter (or two), sometimes it was a C-130, or a KC-130 and helicopter. They all had a special hook mechanism that extended out behind the aircraft. They would fly over the top of the parachute and try to hook it. If that failed, the helicopter would hover over the parachute, and drop a rescue swimmer into the water, where he would hook the hoist to the canister, and they would hoist it up into the helicopter. They flew it back to Hickam where the Recce squadron would develop it.

Tragedy hit in 1985 though. A KC-130 and two HH-53s went out on a rescue mission after receiving word that a sailor on board a commercial ship was suffering appendicitis like symptoms. The HH-53 was the only helicopter that could reach him because it could refuel in flight. They launched helicopters 355 (I was climbing on this one less than a week before in the hangar during a Phase Inspection), 357, and a tanker aircraft. Once they reached the ship, 355 moved into position over the ship and began lowering their rescue swimmer to the deck. When the swimmer reached approximately half way down, the tail of the aircraft snapped off, and the aircraft went into a terminal spin, and slammed into the deck of the ship killing all 7 crew members. The pilot maintained enough control to avoid hitting the cargo hold, which was full of rocket fuel.

Capt David Mason (married just a few days prior and returned early from his honeymoon to volunteer for this mission)
Capt Steve Pindzola
2nd Lt. Russel Ohl
Ssgt Kyle Marshall
Ssgt Daniel Rhieman
PJ Ssgt John Gilbert
Pj Sgt Robert Jermyn

"That others may live" is the motto of the PJs.

There is a nice plaque in honor of them in the courtyard of Chapel 3 on the base.

I remember when the crash happened, because one of our friends was a helicopter pilot. We didn't know if he had been on the mission at the time, but before they even left the ship word had gone around the base like wildfire that a bird was down. The base went into casualty mode, and families gathered to support one another until word came back as to who the crew was.





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