Author Topic: KH-9 HEXAGON Reconnaissance Satellite  (Read 172275 times)

Offline Jim

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Re: KH-9 HEXAGON Reconnaissance Satellite
« Reply #20 on: 09/18/2011 02:19 AM »
I was right, the fairing was installed at the factory

Offline Targeteer

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Re: KH-9 HEXAGON Reconnaissance Satellite
« Reply #21 on: 09/18/2011 03:15 AM »


1.  The corrogated metal skin is really surprising. 

2.Could it fly in space that way or is it just a temporary covering of the engineering model?

1.  Not really, that's how standard aerospace structures look like

2.  there would be MLI on it.


Thanks to Jim and others for the replies.  Pictures I've seen of more current satellites don't appear as "rudimentary" although they usually have MLI or thermal foil of some type installed.

Another question, would the structure be painted in space?  I would think that would be a debris source but maybe the model has it for long term storage on the ground.

Applause to Blackstar as well
« Last Edit: 09/18/2011 03:51 AM by Targeteer »
Best quote heard during an inspection, "I was unaware that I was the only one who was aware."

Offline Blackstar

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Re: KH-9 HEXAGON Reconnaissance Satellite
« Reply #22 on: 09/18/2011 03:36 AM »
Back from the party. Very tired.

A few things:

-the film in the HEXAGON moved at 17 feet PER SECOND.

-the entire film path for the HEXAGON was pressurized.

-there are a couple more KH-7s still sitting in storage.

-best resolution on the KH-8 was 2.3 inches.

That's it. I'm tired.

Offline Art LeBrun

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Re: KH-9 HEXAGON Reconnaissance Satellite
« Reply #23 on: 09/18/2011 03:39 AM »
NSF forum: Applause please for Blackstar...................
1958 launch vehicle highlights: Vanguard TV-4 and Atlas 12B

Offline Targeteer

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Re: KH-9 HEXAGON Reconnaissance Satellite
« Reply #24 on: 09/18/2011 03:47 AM »
Back from the party. Very tired.

A few things:

-the film in the HEXAGON moved at 17 feet PER SECOND.

-the entire film path for the HEXAGON was pressurized.

-there are a couple more KH-7s still sitting in storage.

-best resolution on the KH-8 was 2.3 inches.

That's it. I'm tired.

Interesting they revealed the 2.3 inch best resolution verbally because it's redacted from all of the documents I've plowed through so far...
Best quote heard during an inspection, "I was unaware that I was the only one who was aware."

Offline Downix

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Re: KH-9 HEXAGON Reconnaissance Satellite
« Reply #25 on: 09/18/2011 03:47 AM »
**applause**
chuck - Toilet paper has no real value? Try living with 5 other adults for 6 months in a can with no toilet paper. Man oh man. Toilet paper would be worth it's weight in gold!

Offline simpl simon

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Re: KH-9 HEXAGON Reconnaissance Satellite
« Reply #26 on: 09/18/2011 04:22 AM »
Back from the party. Very tired.

A few things:

-the film in the HEXAGON moved at 17 feet PER SECOND.

-the entire film path for the HEXAGON was pressurized.

-there are a couple more KH-7s still sitting in storage.

-best resolution on the KH-8 was 2.3 inches.

That's it. I'm tired.

Interesting they revealed the 2.3 inch best resolution verbally because it's redacted from all of the documents I've plowed through so far...
The story I got was that between the main film storage spool (which could contain 60 miles of film) and the camera image plate there was a temporary "buffer" where film could be held in readiness for a high-speed imaging run. The main spool could not deliver film at this speed. The film transport system was certainly a major engineering achievement.
I managed to cadge a press kit, which contained a bit more than the fact sheets, but the NRO web site now has a lot more information.
Pity the light level in the tent was too poor for my photo camera with no flash.
Ed.: I meant my cell phone camera.
« Last Edit: 09/18/2011 04:23 AM by simpl simon »

Offline Blackstar

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Re: KH-9 HEXAGON Reconnaissance Satellite
« Reply #27 on: 09/18/2011 04:48 AM »
Interesting they revealed the 2.3 inch best resolution verbally because it's redacted from all of the documents I've plowed through so far...

They did not. Somebody did. To me.

Offline Targeteer

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Re: KH-9 HEXAGON Reconnaissance Satellite
« Reply #28 on: 09/18/2011 04:48 AM »
Time for math in public--always scary. ;D

60 miles of film X 5280 feet = 316,800 feet

316,800 feet / 17 feet per second = 18,635 seconds (of imaging)

18,635 seconds / 60 seconds per minutes = 310 minutes (of imaging)

310 minutes / 60 minutes per hour = 5.2 hours total hours of imaging spread over a 2-9 month mission.  Timing and usage of the available film was obviously of paramount importance.
Best quote heard during an inspection, "I was unaware that I was the only one who was aware."

Offline Targeteer

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Re: KH-9 HEXAGON Reconnaissance Satellite
« Reply #29 on: 09/18/2011 04:49 AM »
Interesting they revealed the 2.3 inch best resolution verbally because it's redacted from all of the documents I've plowed through so far...

They did not. Somebody did. To me.

Now it makes sense :D
Best quote heard during an inspection, "I was unaware that I was the only one who was aware."

Offline Targeteer

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Re: KH-9 HEXAGON Reconnaissance Satellite
« Reply #30 on: 09/18/2011 04:52 AM »
Was there any discussion of imagery release? 

Since the full capability of the Gambit resolution was not revealed it would be safe to assume that at least some of that imagery will not be declassified anytime soon...
Best quote heard during an inspection, "I was unaware that I was the only one who was aware."

Offline Art LeBrun

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Re: KH-9 HEXAGON Reconnaissance Satellite
« Reply #31 on: 09/18/2011 04:52 AM »
17 feet per second. Was there a frame count per second?
1958 launch vehicle highlights: Vanguard TV-4 and Atlas 12B

Offline Blackstar

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Re: KH-9 HEXAGON Reconnaissance Satellite
« Reply #32 on: 09/18/2011 04:53 AM »
1-The story I got was that between the main film storage spool (which could contain 60 miles of film) and the camera image plate there was a temporary "buffer" where film could be held in readiness for a high-speed imaging run. The main spool could not deliver film at this speed. The film transport system was certainly a major engineering achievement.
I managed to cadge a press kit, which contained a bit more than the fact sheets, but the NRO web site now has a lot more information.
2-Pity the light level in the tent was too poor for my photo camera with no flash.
Ed.: I meant my cell phone camera.

1-That was called "the twister" and is considered by everybody on the 9 to be a genius bit of engineering. If you download the video, they briefly show it. I was told by someone that it would take forever to explain it. It's very complicated.

2-Go buy a decent camera. I don't have a cell phone camera and I see people taking pictures with their iPhones and I am briefly jealous that they have something so small and lightweight and handy--then they email me those pictures and they all universally look like bleeachh!!! It's crazy that technology puts so much power in peoples' hands and yet deliberately decreases the quality (lousy sounding MP3s, grainy pictures, etc.).

3-There is no three.

4-Why the heck haven't I gone to bed?

Offline Blackstar

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Re: KH-9 HEXAGON Reconnaissance Satellite
« Reply #33 on: 09/18/2011 04:54 AM »
Time for math in public--always scary. ;D

60 miles of film X 5280 feet = 316,800 feet

316,800 feet / 17 feet per second = 18,635 seconds (of imaging)

18,635 seconds / 60 seconds per minutes = 310 minutes (of imaging)

310 minutes / 60 minutes per hour = 5.2 hours total hours of imaging spread over a 2-9 month mission.  Timing and usage of the available film was obviously of paramount importance.

The film speed was not always that fast. It varied.

Simple math probably doesn't apply here.

Offline Blackstar

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Re: KH-9 HEXAGON Reconnaissance Satellite
« Reply #34 on: 09/18/2011 04:56 AM »
Was there any discussion of imagery release? 

No. I talked to somebody who was not involved but had apparently asked the people who were involved and based on his response I got the sense that it was a touchy subject--NRO wanted it to happen, but NGA is not exactly enthusiastic.

Offline Archibald

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Re: KH-9 HEXAGON Reconnaissance Satellite
« Reply #35 on: 09/18/2011 06:09 AM »
What a huge beast - I really understand the fascination going with those birds. Yes, they were fantastic machines !

Offline Jim

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Re: KH-9 HEXAGON Reconnaissance Satellite
« Reply #36 on: 09/18/2011 12:13 PM »

1.  Thanks to Jim and others for the replies.  Pictures I've seen of more current satellites don't appear as "rudimentary" although they usually have MLI or thermal foil of some type installed.

2.  Another question, would the structure be painted in space?  I would think that would be a debris source but maybe the model has it for long term storage on the ground.

1.  The KH-9 was designed in the 60's before composites were widely used. 

2.  Aerospace aluminum is always painted to prevent corrosion.  That paint does not flake off.

Offline ChileVerde

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Re: KH-9 HEXAGON Reconnaissance Satellite
« Reply #37 on: 09/18/2011 01:54 PM »
Was there any discussion of imagery release? 

No. I talked to somebody who was not involved but had apparently asked the people who were involved and based on his response I got the sense that it was a touchy subject--NRO wanted it to happen, but NGA is not exactly enthusiastic.

Let's hope they release the KH-9 imagery. The resolution matches that of  commercial satellites reasonably well and would extend the reach of historical studies back a couple of decades.

Maybe it will even show up on Google Earth.  ;)

Edit for new content:

SpaceRef has an article on the Roze Glacier between the two islands of Novaya Zemlya (http://www.spaceref.com/news/viewsr.html?pid=38437).

That area was the location of a major Soviet nuclear test site and would certainly have been covered by the KH-9 fairly frequently, clouds and lighting permitting.  Folks interested in arctic warming and ice loss will doubtlessly want to see those pictures.
« Last Edit: 09/18/2011 03:23 PM by ChileVerde »
"I canít tell you which asteroid, but there will be one in 2025," Bolden asserted.

Offline robertross

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Re: KH-9 HEXAGON Reconnaissance Satellite
« Reply #38 on: 09/18/2011 03:02 PM »
NSF forum: Applause please for Blackstar...................

here here!!

Thanks for the additional notes Sir! Especially the resolution, which was redacted from the movies I watched last night, and the few documents I reviewed.

The film speed noted was CRAZY!
Remembering those who made the ultimate sacrifice for our rights & freedoms, and for those injured, visible or otherwise, in that fight.

Offline Blackstar

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Re: KH-9 HEXAGON Reconnaissance Satellite
« Reply #39 on: 09/18/2011 03:16 PM »
Somebody told me a few months ago that the film speed was absurd, but couldn't tell me how fast.

As for the KH-8 top resolution, I had previously heard 2.5 inches, but that person said 2.3 last night. I need to follow up, but it was somebody who was involved in testing the actual resolution for operational spacecraft, so he should know.

Now if you'll excuse me, I need to go print out a few thousand pages...

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