NRO Declassifies Two Legacy Reconnaissance Satellite Programs

NRO Declassifies Two Legacy Reconnaissance Satellite Programs

The National Reconnaissance Office (NRO), which builds and operates the nation’s spy satellites, celebrated its 50th anniversary yesterday with an event at the Smithsonian Institution’s Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, VA. As part of the celebration, the super secret agency, whose name was not even known outside classified circles until 1992, opened the door into its world a bit wider. Two reconnaissance satellite programs from the 1960s were declassified — Gambit (KH-7 and KH-8) and Hexagon (KH-9).

Keith Cowing of NASAWatch posted video he shot while visiting the Udvar Hazy Center on YouTube showing the KH-9 satellite that NRO displayed.

NRO has a website with considerable information about both programs.

The nation’s first reconnaissance satellite program, Corona, was declassified years ago. A book about it, Eye in the Sky: The Story of the Corona Spy Satellites, was written by Dwayne Day, John Logsdon, and Brian Latell in 1999 and is available from (and undoubtedly other vendors).

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