Author Topic: KH-9 HEXAGON Reconnaissance Satellite  (Read 351332 times)

Offline Blackstar

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Re: KH-9 HEXAGON Reconnaissance Satellite
« Reply #800 on: 11/15/2023 09:18 pm »
A high-res scan of that image would be a huge file.

Offline hoku

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Re: KH-9 HEXAGON Reconnaissance Satellite
« Reply #801 on: 11/16/2023 07:29 pm »
A high-res scan of that image would be a huge file.
Yeah, the attached low-res preview of the full frame at over 19000x1920 pixel is already close to 10 MB. USGS Earth Explorer offers scans of the 9.5"(?) wide film at 14 microns, i.e about 3.2 Gb, and at 7 micron, i.e. around 13 GB.

No wonder that film remained the storage medium of choice long after the inception of EOI.


Offline Blackstar

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Re: KH-9 HEXAGON Reconnaissance Satellite
« Reply #802 on: 11/16/2023 08:21 pm »
to 10 MB. USGS Earth Explorer offers scans of the 9.5"(?) wide film at 14 microns, i.e about 3.2 Gb, and at 7 micron, i.e. around 13 GB.


Not sure about the dimensions. The width of the film (essentially north-south) was about 6 inches. I don't know how long each strip was.

Offline harrystranger

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Re: KH-9 HEXAGON Reconnaissance Satellite
« Reply #803 on: 11/25/2023 01:38 am »
Hi everyone :) Today I'm starting the next step of a project I've been working on for a while now. After months of planning, today I'm excited to be launching (pun intended) a gofundme to crowdsource the scanning of declassified spy satellite imagery (KH-4 through to KH-9!) of launch sites around the world, beginning with Kennedy Space Center and the Baikonur Cosmodrome. The goal is to bring these old spy satellite scans to the public in full resolution, and see what cool things we can spot!

All of the scanned images will be published to a Flickr account in full resolution for viewing and download.
In the link below you can view some samples that I have ordered already (including a shot of an N1 on the pad).

Thank you all in advance!

https://www.gofundme.com/f/scan-declassified-satellite-imagery
Hi all, I thought I'd give an update on this situation!

Since the fundraising campaign, we managed to raise over $2000 which all went into scanning images!

There have been a lot of time constraints on my side, but I finally have a site up displaying many of the images (+ some that were already scanned) in an interactive format which saves the users from having to download large files (each page does have a link to the USGS site if you do want to download the originals).

You can view the page on my site here https://www.spacefromspace.com/declassified-database (for the best experience use desktop). I'll continue adding more images when I have time, and even get into non-spaceflight related locations!

I just want to thank anyone here who supported in any way. Feel free to send me any location requests!

Offline Blackstar

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Re: KH-9 HEXAGON Reconnaissance Satellite
« Reply #804 on: 11/25/2023 09:42 pm »
Hi everyone :) Today I'm starting the next step of a project I've been working on for a while now. After months of planning, today I'm excited to be launching (pun intended) a gofundme to crowdsource the scanning of declassified spy satellite imagery (KH-4 through to KH-9!) of launch sites around the world, beginning with Kennedy Space Center and the Baikonur Cosmodrome. The goal is to bring these old spy satellite scans to the public in full resolution, and see what cool things we can spot!

All of the scanned images will be published to a Flickr account in full resolution for viewing and download.
In the link below you can view some samples that I have ordered already (including a shot of an N1 on the pad).

Thank you all in advance!

https://www.gofundme.com/f/scan-declassified-satellite-imagery
Hi all, I thought I'd give an update on this situation!

Since the fundraising campaign, we managed to raise over $2000 which all went into scanning images!

There have been a lot of time constraints on my side, but I finally have a site up displaying many of the images (+ some that were already scanned) in an interactive format which saves the users from having to download large files (each page does have a link to the USGS site if you do want to download the originals).

You can view the page on my site here https://www.spacefromspace.com/declassified-database (for the best experience use desktop). I'll continue adding more images when I have time, and even get into non-spaceflight related locations!

I just want to thank anyone here who supported in any way. Feel free to send me any location requests!

From those images, here is Vandenberg's SLC-3 Atlas complex (two pads). Note the resolution test targets at bottom right. According to a source, the NRO started out with fixed resolution test targets, but then stopped maintaining them and switched to temporary targets that were put out during a mission and then taken down. This was photographed during GAMBIT mission 4034, so we can assume that they put out these targets during the mission and they were later removed (a colleague at Vandenberg may go out there to look at this location). Coincidentally, SLC-3 is where they launched the GAMBIT missions.

(Quick details on VAFB: SLC-2 was Thor/Delta, SLC-3 was Atlas, SLC-4 was Titan, SLC-5 was Scout, and SLC-6 was MOL. But some Thors were also launched from SLC-3.)


Offline Jim

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Re: KH-9 HEXAGON Reconnaissance Satellite
« Reply #805 on: 11/25/2023 09:44 pm »
Hi everyone :) Today I'm starting the next step of a project I've been working on for a while now. After months of planning, today I'm excited to be launching (pun intended) a gofundme to crowdsource the scanning of declassified spy satellite imagery (KH-4 through to KH-9!) of launch sites around the world, beginning with Kennedy Space Center and the Baikonur Cosmodrome. The goal is to bring these old spy satellite scans to the public in full resolution, and see what cool things we can spot!

All of the scanned images will be published to a Flickr account in full resolution for viewing and download.
In the link below you can view some samples that I have ordered already (including a shot of an N1 on the pad).

Thank you all in advance!

https://www.gofundme.com/f/scan-declassified-satellite-imagery
Hi all, I thought I'd give an update on this situation!

Since the fundraising campaign, we managed to raise over $2000 which all went into scanning images!

There have been a lot of time constraints on my side, but I finally have a site up displaying many of the images (+ some that were already scanned) in an interactive format which saves the users from having to download large files (each page does have a link to the USGS site if you do want to download the originals).

You can view the page on my site here https://www.spacefromspace.com/declassified-database (for the best experience use desktop). I'll continue adding more images when I have time, and even get into non-spaceflight related locations!

I just want to thank anyone here who supported in any way. Feel free to send me any location requests!

From those images, here is Vandenberg's SLC-3 Atlas complex (two pads). Note the resolution test targets at bottom right. According to a source, the NRO started out with fixed resolution test targets, but then stopped maintaining them and switched to temporary targets that were put out during a mission and then taken down. This was photographed during GAMBIT mission 4034, so we can assume that they put out these targets during the mission and they were later removed (a colleague at Vandenberg may go out there to look at this location). Coincidentally, SLC-3 is where they launched the GAMBIT missions.

(Quick details on VAFB: SLC-2 was Thor/Delta, SLC-3 was Atlas, SLC-4 was Titan, SLC-5 was Scout, and SLC-6 was MOL. But some Thors were also launched from SLC-3.)



Also, Atlas-Agena was originally launch from what was SLC-4

Offline Blackstar

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Re: KH-9 HEXAGON Reconnaissance Satellite
« Reply #806 on: 11/29/2023 06:49 pm »
Lee Mathers gives a 22-minute talk about a new book on intelligence-collecting ships. He starts out by discussing the recovery of the HEXAGON film capsule using the Trieste DSV-2:

https://faculti.net/spy-ships-one-hundred-years-of-intelligence-collection-by-ships-and-submarines/


(Lee is a great guy. When he was invited to the event at CIA HQ, he brought me along as his guest and after the event we had a nice lunch in the director's dining room.)


Update: here is the book. This subject is also relevant to the SIGINT threads.
« Last Edit: 12/02/2023 12:37 am by Blackstar »

Offline Targeteer

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Re: KH-9 HEXAGON Reconnaissance Satellite
« Reply #807 on: 02/20/2024 12:56 pm »
« Last Edit: 02/20/2024 12:59 pm 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 #808 on: 02/20/2024 01:08 pm »
Here's the other one.

Offline Blackstar

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Re: KH-9 HEXAGON Reconnaissance Satellite
« Reply #809 on: 02/21/2024 02:04 am »
Here is the launch tower and you can see flame trenches.

Something that is not easy to understand is that the original image was on a negative and they produced a film positive. That film positive was viewed on a light table (light shining up from underneath) and the photo interpreters would look at it with a microscope (two eyepieces looking through a single lens). That would provide very good image quality at high resolution.

You don't really get that from electronic scans and enlargements. Simply put, that was a pretty good resolution image but you're just not going to see that with scans and the internet.

Online edzieba

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Re: KH-9 HEXAGON Reconnaissance Satellite
« Reply #810 on: 02/22/2024 11:37 am »
You can scan at equivalent resolution to direct viewing... but it's far trickier than one would expect, even comapred to capturing domestic 35mm and medium format negatives. The sheer size of the negatives (or positives) further complicate things. Taking snapshots of small areas a-la MOL (but without having to physically cut the film) with a macro camera and a light table would be sufficient to capture down to film grain for that small area, but 'scanning' an entire frame that way would require tedious stitching and careful positioning and exposure control. A custom drum-scanner would likely be capable of capturing an entire frame in one capture sequence, but as well as requiring cutting the film into frames it would require custom-building a drum scanner for the task, and those would nowadays be 100% bespoke.
Such a scanner may exist or may have at one point existed for NPIC/NGA use, restoring one if it could be located and updating it with modern photomultipliers and DACs would be an enjoyable few years before someone asks who exactly the few exabytes of capture data would be stored and distributed by.

Offline ExGeek

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Re: KH-9 HEXAGON Reconnaissance Satellite
« Reply #811 on: 02/23/2024 02:44 pm »
DMA (a predecessor agency to NGA) definitely scanned hardcopy images, but I only know of cases where small areas of interest were scanned, rather than an entire image.  It happened during the years of transition from hardcopy to softcopy (digital) exploitation.

Light tables were also used well after KH-11 came on the scene.  Even though the KH-11 images were digitally acquired, transmitted and processed on the ground, it took many years before a majority of users had capabilities (exploitation software, disk space and processing power) to use them in digital formats.  Film was a major output product for years.   

Offline Blackstar

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Re: KH-9 HEXAGON Reconnaissance Satellite
« Reply #812 on: 02/23/2024 02:49 pm »
DMA (a predecessor agency to NGA) definitely scanned hardcopy images, but I only know of cases where small areas of interest were scanned, rather than an entire image.  It happened during the years of transition from hardcopy to softcopy (digital) exploitation.

Light tables were also used well after KH-11 came on the scene.  Even though the KH-11 images were digitally acquired, transmitted and processed on the ground, it took many years before a majority of users had capabilities (exploitation software, disk space and processing power) to use them in digital formats.  Film was a major output product for years.   

The latter point was discussed here a bit, I think in the KH-11 thread. One thing that has been reported is that the early digital display systems for the KH-11 were not very good. It took a few years before the equipment got better. But I met a guy in the 1990s who was doing imagery interpretation and he said that he still used a light table. Could not talk about it.

Offline harrystranger

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Re: KH-9 HEXAGON Reconnaissance Satellite
« Reply #813 on: 02/27/2024 12:49 pm »
Hey everyone :)
I'm on another adventure to crowdfund the scanning of more of these amazing declassified spy satellite images: https://gofund.me/e67df314 (there is a PayPal link in the GoFundMe if you prefer that method, just leave a note so I know what it's for :) ).

This time with a bigger goal of 110 images / $5,000 AUD ($3,300 USD). If you can't contribute I completely understand and would appreciate the word being shared around! Last time, I was over the moon that we went over the $2,000 AUD (~$1,300 USD) goal and scanned 55 scenes. Even if we don't meet this large goal, I'll still put 100% of the money directly into the scans and even pay for more images myself. I just really want to bring more of these amazing images into the public's view.

I'm continuously working through the currently scanned images, georeferencing them, and adding them to my website to view for free: https://spacefromspace.com/declassified-satellite-images
I also plan on adding non-spaceport related locations, so feel free to send me any location requests and I'll add them to a list!

Thanks so much, and I always appreciate the insightful discussions here :)

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