Author Topic: KH-8 GAMBIT Reconnaissance Satellite  (Read 76975 times)

Offline gwiz

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Re: KH-8 GAMBIT Reconnaissance Satellite
« Reply #20 on: 09/28/2011 11:32 AM »
I've just got to the bit in Perry vol 3a (pages 306 to 313) where there is a lot of redaction and some info about getting a capsule down early, presumably with pictures of a high priority target.  What's the betting these were the diagnostic pictures of the damaged Skylab 1?

Offline Jim

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Re: KH-8 GAMBIT Reconnaissance Satellite
« Reply #21 on: 09/28/2011 01:15 PM »
I've just got to the bit in Perry vol 3a (pages 306 to 313) where there is a lot of redaction and some info about getting a capsule down early, presumably with pictures of a high priority target.  What's the betting these were the diagnostic pictures of the damaged Skylab 1?

even odds.

Offline simonbp

Re: KH-8 GAMBIT Reconnaissance Satellite
« Reply #22 on: 09/28/2011 04:18 PM »
Using a film with a resolution equivalent to Kodak's Type 3414 AERECON High Altitude Film with a resolving power of 320 to 630 line pairs per mm would have enabled KH-8B to sample a ground resolution of 5 to 10 cm (2 to 4"), i.e. in the same order as the best resolution of 2.3"(?) Dwayne heard about.

Nice analysis.

For high-quality film, I'm going to guess that the factor is somewhat less than 10. For an evenly-spaced grid (i.e. a CCD), two is the usual factor used (Nyquist sampling). For an unordered but thick-coverage array, a factor of 4-5 seems reasonable. I think that fits with the cited crystal size.

Offline kevin-rf

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Re: KH-8 GAMBIT Reconnaissance Satellite
« Reply #23 on: 09/28/2011 05:12 PM »

I think that fits with the cited crystal size.

Source?
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Offline Blackstar

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Re: KH-8 GAMBIT Reconnaissance Satellite
« Reply #24 on: 09/28/2011 05:13 PM »
My very short summary of the G and H programs will appear in the November issue of Spaceflight. I could only put together a short piece because most of the issue was filled up and because I did not have time. It does feature some nice photos of the KH-7 on display in the museum.

Will probably do numerous follow-ups on the subject.

Offline jcm

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Re: KH-8 GAMBIT Reconnaissance Satellite
« Reply #25 on: 10/01/2011 07:30 PM »
I've just got to the bit in Perry vol 3a (pages 306 to 313) where there is a lot of redaction and some info about getting a capsule down early, presumably with pictures of a high priority target.  What's the betting these were the diagnostic pictures of the damaged Skylab 1?

even odds.

I would put the chances at 95 percent giving the date of the mission involved.
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Offline jcm

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Re: KH-8 GAMBIT Reconnaissance Satellite
« Reply #26 on: 10/01/2011 07:35 PM »
The document "THE GAMBIT STORY" has a very good discussion of the entire KH-8 program with useful tables listing each mission and the number of "photographic days" in the mission (until recovery of the second SRV).  Alas, I have to draw readers' attention to the fact that these tables are unreliable - I think they give the number of planned days, not the number of actual days. An example is Mission 4327 in July 1970
where the listing is 18 days, but problems with the first SRV made them bring the
second one back early by deorbiting the entire spacecraft, and both Space-Track and RAE agree the vehicle left orbit after only 11 days.

So, as always, use caution...
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Offline Blackstar

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Re: KH-8 GAMBIT Reconnaissance Satellite
« Reply #27 on: 10/01/2011 11:26 PM »
There's a note in the history that says that adding an SRV did not necessarily mean that they split the imaging tasks up among two buckets. Instead, they often brought the first bucket down earlier with priority imagery.

That's an interesting contrast to the KH-4A and 4B CORONA, which performed a search function. With those vehicles doubling the number of SRVs allowed them to double the mission. But that really makes a lot of sense, because CORONA's lower resolution was going to produce less time-sensitive data.

It will be interesting to see what Oak imagery interpretation reports get released for the GAMBIT. We have a few of the KH-7 ones, but if we get the KH-8 ones with their higher resolution, we may get some tips as to what they considered time-sensitive priority imagery targets.

Offline ChileVerde

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Re: KH-8 GAMBIT Reconnaissance Satellite
« Reply #28 on: 10/01/2011 11:50 PM »
It will be interesting to see what Oak imagery interpretation reports get released for the GAMBIT. We have a few of the KH-7 ones, but if we get the KH-8 ones with their higher resolution, we may get some tips as to what they considered time-sensitive priority imagery targets.

Forward-deployed military units and air defense sites, I'd guess.  I've heard that COMIREX often was the site of heated arguments about the amount of coverage that was being devoted to keeping up with SA-2 deployments.


Edit:  On COMIREX

http://www.foia.cia.gov/docs/DOC_0001471954/DOC_0001471954.pdf

http://www.nro.gov/foia/CAL-Records/Cabinet1/DrawerE/1%20E%200080.pdf
« Last Edit: 10/02/2011 12:18 AM by ChileVerde »
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Offline kevin-rf

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Re: KH-8 GAMBIT Reconnaissance Satellite
« Reply #29 on: 10/20/2011 02:13 AM »
At the end of the Gambit history in appendix C is a discussion of Lanyard. In a subsection was an attempt to obtain the same data with a long focal length camera fit into extra space on CORONA mission 9056.

Has the NRO released any other information or documents on this "P-Camera" experiment?
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Offline Blackstar

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Re: KH-8 GAMBIT Reconnaissance Satellite
« Reply #30 on: 10/20/2011 03:32 AM »
The P-Camera stuff is mentioned in a few documents and I think it is also in one of the Perry histories. I don't think it is described as well as it is in this history, however.

Offline kevin-rf

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Re: KH-8 GAMBIT Reconnaissance Satellite
« Reply #31 on: 10/20/2011 01:07 PM »
Sigh!!!
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Offline Blackstar

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Re: KH-8 GAMBIT Reconnaissance Satellite
« Reply #32 on: 10/20/2011 04:56 PM »
Well, I have not looked at that P-Camera stuff in a week or two, but they never actually flew the camera, did they? What they flew was a fit-model that proved that it could be carried.

There are some neat little nooks and crannies in these overall histories. By that I mean unique experiments or missions that were outside the norm. CORONA 99 is one example. I've been meaning to write that one up, because last year I managed to get some (poor) photos of the spacecraft. The P-Camera is another one.

And although I did an extensive article on the KH-6 LANYARD perhaps a decade ago, that article is no longer really accurate (based upon what was released later), and I could really update it.

Unfortunately, my job gets in the way of my hobby.

Offline kevin-rf

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Re: KH-8 GAMBIT Reconnaissance Satellite
« Reply #33 on: 10/20/2011 05:29 PM »
Well, I have not looked at that P-Camera stuff in a week or two, but they never actually flew the camera, did they? What they flew was a fit-model that proved that it could be carried.

There are some neat little nooks and crannies in these overall histories. By that I mean unique experiments or missions that were outside the norm. CORONA 99 is one example. I've been meaning to write that one up, because last year I managed to get some (poor) photos of the spacecraft. The P-Camera is another one.

And although I did an extensive article on the KH-6 LANYARD perhaps a decade ago, that article is no longer really accurate (based upon what was released later), and I could really update it.

Unfortunately, my job gets in the way of my hobby.

Look in appendix C of Gambit history (page 181), It has a one page summary. On mission 9054 they flew the mass dummy. They flew the P-Camera on mission 9056 but a cover failed.

http://nro.gov/foia/declass/GAMHEX/GAMBIT%20and%20HEXAGON%20Histories/6.PDF

I was just looking for more info, sounds like it was an interesting gambit ;)
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Offline Blackstar

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Re: KH-8 GAMBIT Reconnaissance Satellite
« Reply #34 on: 10/20/2011 07:16 PM »
Yeah, you're convincing me that I should write up an article about the P-Camera.

CORONA 99 was an interesting mission because it was a Frankenstein monster spacecraft: they took an Agena and stuck a whole bunch of instruments and experiments on it. These don't appear to have been classified themselves, but they stuck this all on a vehicle that was managed by the CORONA program because that was simpler. It was an easy way to get to flight.

Offline kevin-rf

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Re: KH-8 GAMBIT Reconnaissance Satellite
« Reply #35 on: 10/21/2011 02:02 AM »
Your making me want to go through and reread the CORONA histories for clues...
« Last Edit: 10/21/2011 02:10 AM by kevin-rf »
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Offline Blackstar

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Re: KH-8 GAMBIT Reconnaissance Satellite
« Reply #36 on: 10/21/2011 03:56 AM »
On the P-Camera? There's not much in there. I think there's something in The CORONA Story. It might be mentioned in the Perry history. I don't think it is mentioned in the CIA histories. There might also be a few documents. But I think this GAMBIT history has the best summary.

Not much on CORONA 99 anywhere. Jonathan McDowell gave me his file on that mission which includes some obscure sources. I just haven't done anything about it yet.

Offline Blackstar

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Re: KH-8 GAMBIT Reconnaissance Satellite
« Reply #37 on: 01/26/2012 06:50 PM »
http://www.nationalmuseum.af.mil/news/story.asp?id=123287508

Three formerly classified reconnaissance satellites now on display at National Museum USAF

by Rob Bardua
National Museum of the U.S. Air Force

1/26/2012 - DAYTON, Ohio -- Military, government and industry officials gathered today to officially place three formerly classified reconnaissance satellites on public display in the Cold War Gallery at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force.



Note that they apparently have a full KH-8 on display, not simply the small portion of the camera focal plane that was on display at the Smithsonian.

I'm really busy at work right now, but I had an invitation to attend this event and could not go. Damnit.


Offline kevin-rf

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Re: KH-8 GAMBIT Reconnaissance Satellite
« Reply #38 on: 01/26/2012 07:44 PM »
Road Trip! Road Trip!
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Offline jkumpire

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Re: KH-8 GAMBIT Reconnaissance Satellite
« Reply #39 on: 01/26/2012 08:03 PM »
Kevin-rf +1

And I'm only 2 hours away (greedily rubs hands together)

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