zaterdag 30 juli 2011

Espionage Techniques and Technology - The Corona Program - Military History, Satellite Imagery (1972) CIA Archives

MP4 - 192MB - 57m46s - Youtube rip

From the Central Intelligence Agency's declassified film archive comes this collection of 1950s and 1960s archival footage of spy techniques and technology. This volume includes a documentary on the Corona program, the CIA's first photo-reconnaissance satellites, produced by the CIA and featuring footage of Richard Helms, Director of Central Intelligence from 1966-1973. The documentaries continue with a look at the Federal Bureau of Investigation, their recordkeeping, fingerprint operations, lab operations, and field agent training. In addition, a film on anti-communist propaganda campaigns in Eastern Europe, with an examination of Radio Free Europe.


The Corona program was a series of American strategic reconnaissance satellites produced and operated by the Central Intelligence Agency Directorate of Science & Technology with substantial assistance from the U.S. Air Force. The Corona satellites were used for photographic surveillance of the Soviet Union (USSR), the People's Republic of China, and other areas beginning in June 1959 and ending in May 1972. The name of this program is sometimes seen as "CORONA", but its actual name "Corona" was a codeword, not an acronym for anything.

The Corona project was pushed forward especially following the shooting down of a U-2 spy plane over the Soviet Union in May 1960.

The Corona satellites were designated KH-1, KH-2, KH-3, KH-4, KH-4A and KH-4B. KH stood for "Key Hole" or "Keyhole" (Code number 1010), and the incrementing number indicated changes in the surveillance instrumentation, such as the change from single-panoramic to double-panoramic cameras. The "KH" naming system was first used in 1962 with KH-4 and the earlier numbers were retroactively applied. There were 144 Corona satellites launched, of which 102 returned usable photographs.

The procurement and maintenance of the CORONA satellites was managed by the Central Intelligence Agency, which used cover arrangements lasting from 1 April 1958 to 1969 to get access to the Palo Alto plant of the Hiller Helicopter Corporation for the production. In this Advanced Project Integration Facility, the CORONA second rocket stage Agena, Itek cameras, Eastman Kodak Cooperation films, and General Electric reentry capsule were assembled and tested before shipment to Vandenberg AFB. In 1969, the program was relocated to the Lockheed facilities in Sunnyvale, CA.

The Air Force credits the Onizuka Air Force Station as being the "birthplace of the Corona program."

The Corona program was officially classified top secret until 1992. Then, on February 22, 1995, the photos taken by the Corona satellites, and also by two contemporary programs (Argon and KH-6 Lanyard) were declassified under an Executive Order signed by President Bill Clinton. The further review by photo experts of the "obsolete broad-area film-return systems other than Corona" mandated by President Clinton's order led to the declassification in 2002 of the photos from the KH-7 and the KH-9 low-resolution cameras.

The declassified imagery has since been used by a team of scientists from the Australian National University to locate and explore ancient habitation sites, pottery factories, megalithic tombs, and Palaeolithic archaeological remains in northern Syria.

The 1963 thriller novel Ice Station Zebra and its 1968 film adaptation were inspired, in part, by news accounts from April 17, 1959, about a missing experimental Corona satellite capsule (Discoverer II) that inadvertently landed near Spitsbergen on April 13 and was believed to have been recovered by Soviet agents.

In the 1995 Anime film Memories the deep space salvage freighter used by the astronauts in the short Magnetic Rose is called Corona and is similar in style to the satellites.

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