Author Topic: PERCHERON NASA/NRO  (Read 5825 times)

Offline Blackstar

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Re: PERCHERON NASA/NRO
« Reply #20 on: 05/17/2018 07:38 PM »
Been reading Perry history again. Some points are quite weird.

- Sure, what G.E did was quite outrageous and opportunistic. Although we all know Lockheed was hardly a saint. That was one hell of a cluste***ck.

- In  bold: what a bizarre hybrid. KH-7-and-a-half
I suppose once again, the NRO did not wanted NASA getting their hands on the all-powerful KH-8.

- From Perry history however it seem that Lockheed soon pushed NASA in the direction of a full-blown KH-8, camera included, without G.E. 


Can you remind me which Perry history? And what pages are you looking at?

Problem is that we don't have much in the way of back and forth correspondence. Not really clear who was doing what. Contractors were always looking for ways to sell their spacecraft to more customers. We saw the same with MOL, where MD was pitching it to NASA. Unclear how much approval they had from NRO to do that.

Offline Archibald

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Re: PERCHERON NASA/NRO
« Reply #21 on: 05/18/2018 05:45 AM »
This document (number 58 on the list of declassified UPWARD documents. Can't remember if it is Perry or not-Perry, excuse the confusion)

http://www.nro.gov/foia/declass/UPWARD/58.%20Project%20UPWARD-%20The%20NRO%20and%20NASA%20History.pdf
« Last Edit: 05/18/2018 05:47 AM by Archibald »
... that ackward moment when you realize that Jeff Bezos personal fortune is far above NASA annual budget... 115 billion to 18 billion...

Offline Blackstar

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Re: PERCHERON NASA/NRO
« Reply #22 on: 05/18/2018 09:13 PM »
Found a reference in a Google Books search, the reference is in the Geological Survey Circular 692, page 34:

General Electric Co., 1967a, Percheron suitability, application, "A", payloads: Gen. Elec. Co. Doc. No. 67SD4287. Prepared for Nat'l Aeronautics and Space Adm., Off. Space Sci. and Applications.

1967b, Summary report covering an analysis of spacecraft systems with physical recovery capability to perform earth oriented applications experiments: Prepared for Nat'l Aeronautics and Space Adm. under contract NAS-W-1691, 3v.



https://pubs.usgs.gov/circ/1974/0693/report.pdf   (page 20 of the pdf, plus figures page 59)


So what do the descriptions refer to? The illustration, which shows two large format cameras and a mapping camera (and single reentry vehicle) doesn't match with Percheron. I don't think I've seen that configuration before. I have seen a version involving four mapping cameras. I may have posted that here.

We seem to have these little snippets of information on these camera systems proposed to NASA, but not the actual studies themselves. There had to be detailed study proposals.

Offline Archibald

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Re: PERCHERON NASA/NRO
« Reply #23 on: 05/19/2018 06:44 AM »
Is there any hope to get more documents declassified  in the near future ?
... that ackward moment when you realize that Jeff Bezos personal fortune is far above NASA annual budget... 115 billion to 18 billion...

Offline Blackstar

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Re: PERCHERON NASA/NRO
« Reply #24 on: 05/19/2018 02:38 PM »
Is there any hope to get more documents declassified  in the near future ?

Have you thought about using the FOIA? NRO is actually pretty responsive to FOIA for historical documents on programs that have been declassified. So you need a focused FOIA request, going after specific programs (and if you have citations, going after specific documents). I've had them respond to FOIA requests in some cases in only a few months. For stuff that requires a search and more of a review, it could take you a year. But the more targeted your request, the more likely it will move faster.


Offline Archibald

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Re: PERCHERON NASA/NRO
« Reply #25 on: 05/19/2018 06:02 PM »
I'm a foreigner from the other side of the pond. Then again the more the merrier.
... that ackward moment when you realize that Jeff Bezos personal fortune is far above NASA annual budget... 115 billion to 18 billion...

Offline Blackstar

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Re: PERCHERON NASA/NRO
« Reply #26 on: 05/19/2018 07:59 PM »
I'm a foreigner from the other side of the pond. Then again the more the merrier.

Well, then, figure out what you're looking for and let me know. If you can determine specific documents, I'm willing to submit FOIAs to get them.


Offline Archibald

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Re: PERCHERON NASA/NRO
« Reply #27 on: 05/20/2018 08:30 AM »
Thank you. Will think about it.
... that ackward moment when you realize that Jeff Bezos personal fortune is far above NASA annual budget... 115 billion to 18 billion...

Offline Archibald

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Re: PERCHERON NASA/NRO
« Reply #28 on: 05/20/2018 10:25 AM »
General Electric Co., 1967a, Percheron suitability, application "A", payloads: Gen. Elec. Co. Doc. No. 67SD4287. Prepared for Natl. Aeronautics and Space Adm., Off. Space Sci. and Applications. 1967b,
- Summary report covering an analysis of spacecraft systems with physical recovery capability to perform earth oriented applications experiments: Prepared for Nat'l. Aeronautics and Space Adm. under contract NAS–W–1691, 3v.

I've seen this very document mentionned in a handful of publications. Either G.E or NASA "leaked" it to the non-classified world.

--------------

Other than that, no precise document title.

Just some suggestions

- FROG applications outside KH-8 (other NRO satellites or even civilians, NASA or JPL)
- UPWARD late developments (JPL)
(examples below)
---------------

http://www.thespacereview.com/article/1734/1

Quote
According to Mitchell -  apparently somebody at JPL later proposed that the camera system be carried on lunar landing missions, but the system was simply too big and heavy to be carried with any mission that included a lunar lander.


http://www.thespacereview.com/article/2596/1

Quote
A more complex approach would have included an LMSS capable of continuing a lunar mapping mission after the Apollo crew had reloaded its film. In its engineering proposal, Kodak had described how the LMSS could be equipped with the Bimat system that it had developed for Lunar Orbiter.
Such an onboard processing and readout capacity would have allowed the astronauts to gauge the status of the KH-7 camera. After the crew had departed, this would have enabled Upward to continue an unmanned survey mission.

Some years later, a similar system was considered by the NRO for real-time Earth reconnaissance. This Film Read Out Gambit (FROG) was cancelled when the NRO decided to pursue electronic read-out in its KH-11 satellite.

Bimat is quite well known, but FROG is not really known. Laser scanning worked far faster than the old analog system.

FROG started in 1966
President Nixon final decision on KH-11 happened on September 23, 1971.
That's five years.

Often wondering whether

- FROG technology was applied elsewhere (1966, 1971 or later)
or
- being a loser to the still operational / classified KH-11 mean nothing could be done out of it (National Security)

I have seen a 1971 document where Merton Davies and Bruce Murray ponder about a film readout system to map Viking landing sites. They say Bimat, but 1971 is right timing for FROG.
JPL had strong links with the military (including Lew Allen himself).
« Last Edit: 05/20/2018 10:27 AM by Archibald »
... that ackward moment when you realize that Jeff Bezos personal fortune is far above NASA annual budget... 115 billion to 18 billion...

Offline Blackstar

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Re: PERCHERON NASA/NRO
« Reply #29 on: 05/20/2018 03:02 PM »
FROG started in 1966
President Nixon final decision on KH-11 happened on September 23, 1971.
That's five years.

Often wondering whether

- FROG technology was applied elsewhere (1966, 1971 or later)
or
- being a loser to the still operational / classified KH-11 mean nothing could be done out of it (National Security)

I have seen a 1971 document where Merton Davies and Bruce Murray ponder about a film readout system to map Viking landing sites. They say Bimat, but 1971 is right timing for FROG.
JPL had strong links with the military (including Lew Allen himself).

We have a lot on the programmatic details of FROG (who was advocating for it, when, a few key milestones). What I have not seen is anything on the technical details. For instance, I'd like to see a schematic of the film path showing how the film would go through the processor, scanner, etc.

There seems to have been a general consensus that FROG would have worked, but questions about its utility. It would have run out of film, limiting its lifetime.

I have an article in the works about the decision to build the KH-11, but haven't gotten around to finishing it. My day job keeps getting in the way of my hobbies, and I diverted my attention to my recent MOL series.

Offline hoku

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Re: PERCHERON NASA/NRO
« Reply #30 on: 05/20/2018 09:11 PM »
FROG started in 1966
President Nixon final decision on KH-11 happened on September 23, 1971.
That's five years.

Often wondering whether

- FROG technology was applied elsewhere (1966, 1971 or later)
or
- being a loser to the still operational / classified KH-11 mean nothing could be done out of it (National Security)

I have seen a 1971 document where Merton Davies and Bruce Murray ponder about a film readout system to map Viking landing sites. They say Bimat, but 1971 is right timing for FROG.
JPL had strong links with the military (including Lew Allen himself).

We have a lot on the programmatic details of FROG (who was advocating for it, when, a few key milestones). What I have not seen is anything on the technical details. For instance, I'd like to see a schematic of the film path showing how the film would go through the processor, scanner, etc.

There seems to have been a general consensus that FROG would have worked, but questions about its utility. It would have run out of film, limiting its lifetime.

I have an article in the works about the decision to build the KH-11, but haven't gotten around to finishing it. My day job keeps getting in the way of my hobbies, and I diverted my attention to my recent MOL series.

The NRO 2018 Q2 quarterly document release includes a slightly less redacted draft version of Perry's History "Chapter 17", Vol IV on FROG and KENNEN - see F-2018-00047 at http://www.nro.gov/foia/declass/OtherReleases.html#Qtr2

Some of the program code names (ZAMAN/KENNEN), names of the companies involved (e.g. Bell Labs, CBS Laboratories), and the fact of "laser scanning" are not any longer redacted, but else there seem to be few additional technical details.

From the historical perspective the introductory comment by (then) Lt General Lew Allen on the progression from DYNASOR to MOL/DORIAN, and then on to FROG and "K" might be the most interesting part of the new release.

The misspelling "KENNAN" seems to have originated with Perry. According to Allen's(?) handwritten comment near the end of the document, the "KENNEN" name was selected by the DDNRO ("CIA's man in the front office").

Offline Blackstar

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Re: PERCHERON NASA/NRO
« Reply #31 on: 05/20/2018 10:42 PM »
The NRO 2018 Q2 quarterly document release includes a slightly less redacted draft version of Perry's History "Chapter 17", Vol IV on FROG and KENNEN

Yes, I'm the one who got it declassified.

Offline Blackstar

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Re: PERCHERON NASA/NRO
« Reply #32 on: 05/20/2018 10:44 PM »
of the document, the "KENNEN" name was selected by the DDNRO ("CIA's man in the front office").

That was released several years ago when Jeff Richelson got it declassified.

Offline Archibald

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Re: PERCHERON NASA/NRO
« Reply #33 on: 05/21/2018 07:00 AM »
Red Lew Allen introduction and opinion on MOL. Whew. The man didn't minced words. He was probably right.
... that ackward moment when you realize that Jeff Bezos personal fortune is far above NASA annual budget... 115 billion to 18 billion...

Offline Blackstar

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Re: PERCHERON NASA/NRO
« Reply #34 on: 05/22/2018 03:32 PM »
I have seen a 1971 document where Merton Davies and Bruce Murray ponder about a film readout system to map Viking landing sites. They say Bimat, but 1971 is right timing for FROG.
JPL had strong links with the military (including Lew Allen himself).

Phil Pressel, one of the designers of the HEXAGON camera system, told me that he worked on a highly classified study looking at sending a HEXAGON camera to Mars. He remembers that he was one of three people, including an astronaut, and that they worked on it in a secure facility. He doesn't remember any other details, although he thinks this was in the late 1980s. Unfortunately, this is not mentioned in any of the HEXAGON documents. It is possible that the study exists somewhere and has not been declassified. I am certain that only a small percentage of HEXAGON program documents have been declassified.

Offline Blackstar

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Re: PERCHERON NASA/NRO
« Reply #35 on: 05/22/2018 03:41 PM »

http://www.thespacereview.com/article/2596/1

Quote
A more complex approach would have included an LMSS capable of continuing a lunar mapping mission after the Apollo crew had reloaded its film. In its engineering proposal, Kodak had described how the LMSS could be equipped with the Bimat system that it had developed for Lunar Orbiter.
Such an onboard processing and readout capacity would have allowed the astronauts to gauge the status of the KH-7 camera. After the crew had departed, this would have enabled Upward to continue an unmanned survey mission.

Some years later, a similar system was considered by the NRO for real-time Earth reconnaissance. This Film Read Out Gambit (FROG) was cancelled when the NRO decided to pursue electronic read-out in its KH-11 satellite.

There is a document (I think it is in the UPWARD collection) that briefly mentions a Lunar Orbiter "Block III" under study by Boeing, which built Lunar Orbiter. No other details, and I checked the NASA HQ history archives without luck. One possibility is that this is what they were considering. However, by around 1967 with Apollo in full swing, there was not really a lot of pressing need for more scientific spacecraft at the Moon. Apollo was going to produce a lot of data, and it's hard to see how a few robotic spacecraft would effectively augment what Apollo was going to do. And of course the J missions had an extensive science suite of their own, so they were going to be bringing in a lot of data.

From that standpoint, it seems like the logical thing to do would be to stand down the Surveyor and Lunar Orbiter projects and wait for the Apollo data to come in. Then they could evaluate that data and decide on what to do next. This is in fact what they actually did. But unfortunately there was no real political interest in funding further lunar science by the 1970s. Attention and funding turned toward Viking and Mars.

Offline Archibald

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Re: PERCHERON NASA/NRO
« Reply #36 on: 05/22/2018 05:21 PM »
Here is the said document. Straight out of Caltech - the JPL home place.

https://authors.library.caltech.edu/10783/

« Last Edit: 05/22/2018 05:26 PM by Archibald »
... that ackward moment when you realize that Jeff Bezos personal fortune is far above NASA annual budget... 115 billion to 18 billion...

Offline Blackstar

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Re: PERCHERON NASA/NRO
« Reply #37 on: 05/22/2018 06:40 PM »
Merton Davies and Amrom Katz were two of the pioneers of space-based reconnaissance and did a great deal to push it forward in the 1950s. They then got cut out of it when CORONA was created as a covert (i.e. "does not officially exist") program. They were later read-into space reconnaissance somewhat, although I'm not sure how much access they had. Both of them continued to write publicly about Earth observing from space, and I'm sure that what they wrote had to be cleared through channels.

Bruce Murray, of course, was the director of JPL and one of the founders, along with Carl Sagan, of The Planetary Society:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bruce_C._Murray

Katz tended to write amusing memos while at RAND during the mid-1950s. He would recount some new paper or USAF plan and then add in color commentary like "This is one of the stupidest ideas I've ever seen, and I've seen a lot of stupid ideas." He must have been a real character back in the day.

I met Amrom Katz back in the mid-1990s, although he was suffering from Alzheimers then. I talked to him while a couple of colleagues went through some of his papers, looking for some of his original RAND reports. Those later got declassified. There's such a fascinating early history there that deserves a lot better exposure. (I'm going to give it some, but not what it really deserves.)


Offline Blackstar

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Re: PERCHERON NASA/NRO
« Reply #38 on: 05/22/2018 06:59 PM »
I have seen a 1971 document where Merton Davies and Bruce Murray ponder about a film readout system to map Viking landing sites. They say Bimat, but 1971 is right timing for FROG.

The focal length mentioned in the paper is way too small for FROG. As for the scanning technology, that's a different issue. They could have been using "Bimat" as shorthand. But I'm not sure they would have been aware of the laser scanning and other work being done for FROG. The document does not appear to mention laser scanning.

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