Author Topic: KH-11 KENNEN  (Read 61844 times)

Offline Blackstar

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KH-11 KENNEN
« on: 07/29/2012 11:28 PM »
The code-name for the KH-11 reconnaissance satellite was apparently first reported in Bill Burrows' book "Deep Black" in the latter 1980s. Burrows spelled it "KENNAN." This led some people to speculate that it was named after George Kennan (look him up).

However, newly declassified information strongly implies that the actual spelling is "KENNEN." Here is the evidence.

Attached are three pages from the NRO history "The GAMBIT Story."

Look at page 190 (from the actual printed page). This is an index page. After "Kennedy" it lists a "[DELETED] Project" that is referenced on (printed) pages 93 and 101.

Unless the indexer made a mistake, the word following "Kennedy" cannot be "KENNAN" because "A" (the fifth letter) comes before "e" in the alphabet. Therefore, "KENNEN" fits after "Kennedy" whereas "KENNAN" does not.

Now if you go to printed pages 93 and 101, you will see that on page 93, at the top of the page it refers to an "EOI [DELETED] System..." "EOI" stands for "electro-optical imagery," which is what the KH-11 was. So it seems likely that the deleted word there is "EOI KENNEN System..."

There is also reference to "[DELETED several words of text] produced the KH-11 system."

Page 101 is a little less clear, but several lines of text are deleted at the end of the paragraph, in reference to the end of the GAMBIT program. It seems logical that they are referring to GAMBIT's work being taken over by the KENNEN.

"Kennen" is the German word "to know," which seems like a clever name for an intelligence satellite.
« Last Edit: 07/30/2012 03:34 AM by Blackstar »

Offline Jester

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Re: KH-11 KENNEN
« Reply #1 on: 07/30/2012 02:11 PM »
Interesting, nice find there

P.S.
Kennen is also a Dutch word, it also means to know, and when pronounced correctly (in either german or dutch) the phonetics could be "Kennan" so maybe thats where the "mistake" came from.

Offline hoku

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Re: KH-11 KENNEN
« Reply #2 on: 08/25/2012 04:43 PM »
Nice piece adding to the KH-11 puzzle!

This was posted before in another thread, but for the sake of completeness here are references to two CIA documents referring to the code-name "KENNEN". The circumstantial evidence that this is related to KH-11 is that Bill Woodruff had also been briefed on other reconnaissance projects like, e.g., "HEXAGON", and that Edward P. Boland was chairman of the "Select Committee on Intelligence" (with "ground station" indicating that "KENNEN" might be related to a satellite project).

BRIEFING OF BILL WOODRUFF AND RALPH PRESTON, SENATE AND HOUSE APPROPRIATIONS COMMITTEE STAFF, ON KENNEN
ESDN: CIA-RDP74B00415R000100010065-5
Pages: 2 Orig Class: S Doc Type: MFR Decision: RIP
Collection: 2002 CREST Documents - General CIA Records.txt
Date: 8/15/1972   

LETTER TO HONORABLE EDWARD P. BOLAND FROM WILLIAM J. CASEY PROPOSING VISIT BY PERMANENT SELECT COMMITTEE MEMBERS TO KENNEN GROUND STATION
ESDN: CIA-RDP83M00914R000700040112-1
Pages: 4 Orig Class: T Doc Type: LETTER Decision: RIP
Collection: 2006 CREST Documents - General CIA Records.txt
Date: 1/18/1982   

One could submit a FOIA request for these two documents, though the code-word "KENNEN" might get redacted in the main text (declass status is "Release In Part" - RIP)

Offline jcm

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Re: KH-11 KENNEN
« Reply #3 on: 08/26/2012 12:54 AM »
Thanks hoku, that's convincing that KENNEN is actually the name. Good job DD!
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Offline jcm

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Re: KH-11 KENNEN
« Reply #4 on: 08/26/2012 12:59 AM »
Per http://www.foia.cia.gov/best-of-crest/CIA-RDP80B01676R003400120022-0.pdf
"MR. GEORGE F. KENNEN'S APPEARANCE 26 MAY 1960 IN OPEN SESSION BEFORE THE SENATE SUBCOMMITTEE ON NATIONAL POLICY MACHINERY, COMMITTEE ON GOVERNMENT OPERATIONS"

maybe it WAS named after George Kennan after all since official docs seem to misspell his name Kennen about half the time!!
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Offline Blackstar

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Re: KH-11 KENNEN
« Reply #5 on: 07/12/2013 04:13 AM »
I have the KENNEN ground station doc. That portion of the sentence is deleted, but fits perfectly with the text. The document doesn't say anything else that is interesting.

Offline pargoo

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Re: KH-11 KENNEN
« Reply #6 on: 07/12/2013 06:06 AM »
     Sitting here twiddling my thumbs, so I thought I'd throw in a KENNEN launch pic.  Unfortunately, I don't have one for the first launch on 19/12/1976 :(

Offline kevin-rf

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Re: KH-11 KENNEN
« Reply #7 on: 07/12/2013 10:21 AM »
Does one exist for the back side of the fairing, given how the kh-9 used only a partial fairing, I wonder if it had any large side looking cutouts.
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Offline pargoo

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Re: KH-11 KENNEN
« Reply #8 on: 07/12/2013 11:06 PM »
     Hexagon-1 on the pad at Vandenburg.  About the best 'back' side of the PLF I have seen; no obvious big cut-outs in the shroud :)

Offline catdlr

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Re: KH-11 KENNEN
« Reply #9 on: 07/12/2013 11:15 PM »
     Hexagon-1 on the pad at Vandenburg.  About the best 'back' side of the PLF I have seen; no obvious big cut-outs in the shroud :)

What is the purpose of the strap-on with the pipe leading down to one of the  SRB's?
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Offline Skyrocket

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Re: KH-11 KENNEN
« Reply #10 on: 07/12/2013 11:22 PM »
     Hexagon-1 on the pad at Vandenburg.  About the best 'back' side of the PLF I have seen; no obvious big cut-outs in the shroud :)

What is the purpose of the strap-on with the pipe leading down to one of the  SRB's?

Fluid injection for thrust vector control of the SRBs.

Offline catdlr

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Re: KH-11 KENNEN
« Reply #11 on: 07/12/2013 11:23 PM »
     Hexagon-1 on the pad at Vandenburg.  About the best 'back' side of the PLF I have seen; no obvious big cut-outs in the shroud :)

What is the purpose of the strap-on with the pipe leading down to one of the  SRB's?

Fluid injection for thrust vector control of the SRBs.


Thank you Skyrocket.  Impressive launch vehicle.
« Last Edit: 07/12/2013 11:24 PM by catdlr »
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Offline rguser

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Re: KH-11 KENNEN
« Reply #12 on: 07/13/2013 07:55 AM »
     Hexagon-1 on the pad at Vandenburg.  About the best 'back' side of the PLF I have seen; no obvious big cut-outs in the shroud :)

The Hexagon shroud did indeed have cut-outs to access the RVs as shown in this blurry photo.  To the best of my knowledge one of the purposes for the access ports was to arm the RVs by inserting their arming plugs into each RV.

Offline Jim

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Re: KH-11 KENNEN
« Reply #13 on: 07/13/2013 12:32 PM »
     Hexagon-1 on the pad at Vandenburg.  About the best 'back' side of the PLF I have seen; no obvious big cut-outs in the shroud :)

The Hexagon shroud did indeed have cut-outs to access the RVs as shown in this blurry photo.  To the best of my knowledge one of the purposes for the access ports was to arm the RVs by inserting their arming plugs into each RV.

This is a Hexagon

Offline Blackstar

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Re: KH-11 KENNEN
« Reply #14 on: 09/27/2013 03:17 PM »

Offline Star One

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Re: KH-11 KENNEN
« Reply #15 on: 09/27/2013 07:05 PM »
Was reading about the model hanging from the ceiling of the CIA exhabit, wonder how many realise what that is & it seems a fairly accurate representation of the basics of the KH-11 design from what you can ascertain from that image of USA-129.

Offline Blackstar

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Re: KH-11 KENNEN
« Reply #16 on: 09/27/2013 07:25 PM »
Was reading about the model hanging from the ceiling of the CIA exhabit, wonder how many realise what that is & it seems a fairly accurate representation of the basics of the KH-11 design from what you can ascertain from that image of USA-129.

No. That model is wrong. It's just really wrong. Other than the fact that it is a tube, you can pretty much ignore all of the other details.

For example, the museum exhibit shows an aperture on the side of the tube. That's not accurate. The aperture is on the end, like Hubble.

Offline Blackstar

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Re: KH-11 KENNEN
« Reply #17 on: 09/27/2013 07:28 PM »
Okay, so I just heard from somebody who is familiar with the work of the guy who produced the image. Apparently he is rather controversial because he is claiming really good results with equipment that should not be able to produce them. He has been asked to share his raw data and has refused. So it seems that you should take the imagery with a big grain of salt. It may be the result of substantial digital manipulation that creates something better than what is actually in the data.

Offline Star One

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Re: KH-11 KENNEN
« Reply #18 on: 09/27/2013 08:23 PM »
Was reading about the model hanging from the ceiling of the CIA exhabit, wonder how many realise what that is & it seems a fairly accurate representation of the basics of the KH-11 design from what you can ascertain from that image of USA-129.

No. That model is wrong. It's just really wrong. Other than the fact that it is a tube, you can pretty much ignore all of the other details.

For example, the museum exhibit shows an aperture on the side of the tube. That's not accurate. The aperture is on the end, like Hubble.

Well I did suspect that to be the case. ;) I just meant it was a useful very basic guide.

For a start the solar panels seemed fairly unlikely, I mean what would the point of having such curved panels be.
« Last Edit: 09/27/2013 08:45 PM by Star One »

Offline Blackstar

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Re: KH-11 KENNEN
« Reply #19 on: 09/27/2013 11:30 PM »
Was reading about the model hanging from the ceiling of the CIA exhabit, wonder how many realise what that is & it seems a fairly accurate representation of the basics of the KH-11 design from what you can ascertain from that image of USA-129.

No. That model is wrong. It's just really wrong. Other than the fact that it is a tube, you can pretty much ignore all of the other details.

For example, the museum exhibit shows an aperture on the side of the tube. That's not accurate. The aperture is on the end, like Hubble.

Well I did suspect that to be the case. ;) I just meant it was a useful very basic guide.

For a start the solar panels seemed fairly unlikely, I mean what would the point of having such curved panels be.

I've been working with an artist on some updated images of the KH-11. Not sure when he may want to debut them.

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