Author Topic: KH-11 KENNEN  (Read 354155 times)

Offline LittleBird

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Re: KH-11 KENNEN
« Reply #1020 on: 01/23/2024 11:42 am »

Iím guessing the images in this report could originally been from a KH-11 but downgraded, but these days could just as easily be commercial images:

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2024/jan/22/uk-sends-un-experts-photographs-north-korean-shipments-russia
The "2023 Planet Labs Inc." in the corner is rather a giveaway.

200 satellites, 50 cm resolution ... I still find today's world hard to get used to sometimes ;-)  https://www.planet.com/products/
Arenít there meant to be calls by the commercial sector to be allowed to go a lot better than 50 cm now for non-government customers?

Maxar was doing better than 30cm 50cm ten years ago, and now offers a 30cm basemap,  see
https://blog.maxar.com/leading-the-industry/2023/the-first-30-cm-hd-global-imagery-basemap
my point was really just about the *combination* of so many satellites of good enough resolution,
« Last Edit: 03/19/2024 03:35 am by LittleBird »

Online StraumliBlight

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Re: KH-11 KENNEN
« Reply #1021 on: 01/23/2024 01:50 pm »
Arenít there meant to be calls by the commercial sector to be allowed to go a lot better than 50 cm now for non-government customers?

Albedo will offer commercial 10 cm satellite imagery in early 2025, with a few caveats.

Offline jg

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Re: KH-11 KENNEN
« Reply #1022 on: 01/23/2024 06:14 pm »
Don't naively presume that Hubble used the same detectors as the KH11.

The CCD's built for Hubble were built by Texas instruments as I remember, and the Hubble camera was put together by Jim Gunn at Caltech.

These were the first CCDs which were backlit and thinned, a process by which the chip was made very thin so the light could come in the back side and avoid much of the light being absorbed by the electrodes on the surface that do the magic of moving the charge around. This meant that the quantum efficiency was basically that of raw silicon, which is very high indeed, rather than merely something in the 30% range.

All of us working on other CCDs were very envious of the chips that Jim got for Hubble at vast cost, and it was quite a few years before alternatives as good as used for Hubble were available for ground-based telescopes. We just couldn't afford what TI charged!

Quantum efficiency is not a big deal if you're looking down at the Earth as you have tons of photons available!

Sent from my Pixel 6 Pro using Tapatalk


Offline Star One

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Re: KH-11 KENNEN
« Reply #1023 on: 01/24/2024 10:36 am »
Aren’t there meant to be calls by the commercial sector to be allowed to go a lot better than 50 cm now for non-government customers?

Albedo will offer commercial 10 cm satellite imagery in early 2025, with a few caveats.
Slightly surprised they’ve authorised 10cm imaging.

Offline LittleBird

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Re: KH-11 KENNEN
« Reply #1024 on: 03/15/2024 04:25 am »
What does strike me in the 77 docs is that people were anticipating a funding crunch and that as KH-11 would be kept, one other system would likely be phased out. This1977  doc: https://www.nro.gov/Portals/65/documents/foia/declass/GAMBIT%20DM/4.pdf (link still works, pdf attached) seems to be making the argument that you'd be better off keeping GAMBIT than HEXAGON if that was the choice. But I don't know if it is done for SAFSP or a proposal to them from Kodak and LMSC. [Edit: I assume this is the one you refer to as "Kodak's argument" above, Blackstar ?]

That's the one I was thinking of.

What's keeping this issue murky is that we still don't have anything good about early KENNEN operations and then upgrades. KENNEN appears to have had some early limitations in terms of resolution, bandwidth, and area coverage. All those things were gradually improved.

(Sidenote: It also apparently had some lifetime and operations issues. I was once told by somebody--this might be in one of Richelson's books--that at one point they were having problems with the relay satellites being in the "wrong place" when the KENNEN was transmitting. I'm not exactly sure how that happened, but it was apparently a coordination issue between CIA's Program B and USAF's Program A within the NRO. That discussion belongs in the KENNEN thread.)

 

Taking this topic over here as requested by Blackstar. One thing that is interesting about interaction between satellites in Molniya/HEO and other orbits is that it seems to have been helpful to have a ground station talking to both. The decision to put JUMPSEAT at least partly under control of a Colorado site  (now essentially confirmed, see DSP thread) that also talked to DSP clearly made a difference to their joint usability-even if not a bug free process, as attested in Richelson's "Space Sentinels" among other sources. Were SDS/QUASAR and  KENNEN controlled from same point ? And if so was this from the start ?

Offline Emmettvonbrown

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Re: KH-11 KENNEN
« Reply #1025 on: 03/15/2024 07:02 am »
Arenít there meant to be calls by the commercial sector to be allowed to go a lot better than 50 cm now for non-government customers?

Albedo will offer commercial 10 cm satellite imagery in early 2025, with a few caveats.

Unbelievable... MOL / KH-8 ground resolution (or close) from private companies.

Quote
200 satellites, 50 cm resolution ... I still find today's world hard to get used to sometimes

You nailed it.

Offline LittleBird

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Re: KH-11 KENNEN
« Reply #1026 on: 03/18/2024 12:10 pm »
Interesting oral history at AIP by Daniel Ford with Robert J Kohler: https://www.aip.org/history-programs/niels-bohr-library/oral-histories/40912-16

I'll respect the AIP request not to excerpt it but there's lots to enjoy, especially about Richard Garwin's role (interview is one of a series about Garwin) and in particular the info that Westinghouse in Baltimore made the CCDs for KH-11 when these replaced the original EOI sensor. I think the existing docs list Westinghouse as one of the contractors for the original sensor but story stops before onset of CCDs.

Good story about how Garwin debugged problems with CCD production by suggesting they check the humidifier in the Baltimore plant ... as one other interviewee says Garwin is the kind of physicist you want as a neighbour, having a degree of skill at fixing things not usually associated with theorists ;-)

Many years ago I got a call from Garwin's biographer asking if I had anything on him. I only had a couple of anecdotes and no documents. Garwin was supposedly someone who led a report on MOL that raised the issue of the astronauts degrading the imagery. We don't have that report.

I see on looking back that my first post in this forum was about Garwin and mentioned Joel Shurkin's bio of him. 1100 or so posts and 3 + years later I've got round to downloading the Kindle sampler ;-) ... I did say I was a slow worker. It's a bit dry but I'm sure many here would find it interesting  ... the sampler leaves the reader in suspense just before he takes up the problem of making the Teller-Ulam idea work in practise ...

And in that regard, here's Shurkin's recounting of  a rather macabre Garwin joke that I suspect many friends, colleagues and sparring partners might indeed have told, based even on what I've seen in the declassified MOL docs etc.

Offline Emmettvonbrown

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Re: KH-11 KENNEN
« Reply #1027 on: 05/20/2024 03:55 pm »
This interesting bit of information has popped out on the Hubble thread, downstairs this forum. Ok, so Perkin Elmers had the machinery in place to polish mirrors 3 m / 120 inch / 10 ft in diameter.

Which brings the unavoidable question: did the spooks ever dreamed of 3m diameter mirrors KH-11s ? 

Or was it just P.E being more visionary than Kodak and planning their machinery in advance, just in case ? "the one after KH-11, or a Block II, may request a 120 inch diameter..."
« Last Edit: 05/20/2024 03:56 pm by Emmettvonbrown »

Offline Blackstar

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Re: KH-11 KENNEN
« Reply #1028 on: 05/20/2024 04:02 pm »
Or was it just P.E being more visionary than Kodak and planning their machinery in advance, just in case ?

I don't know. I was a bit surprised to learn this from Kodak people. And unfortunately, the one person I knew who could possibly shed light on it, Phil Pressel, died last year.

Offline LittleBird

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Re: KH-11 KENNEN
« Reply #1029 on: 05/20/2024 04:31 pm »
Or was it just P.E being more visionary than Kodak and planning their machinery in advance, just in case ?

I don't know. I was a bit surprised to learn this from Kodak people. And unfortunately, the one person I knew who could possibly shed light on it, Phil Pressel, died last year.

One wonders what would have launched it. Before late 80s i assume a ten foot mirror would have needed a shuttle or maybe a Titan IIIE ?

Only optical payload Iíve ever seen suggested for latter waa SEOS to GEO-Iíve no recollection of how big its mirror was but it would be in the reports quoted on this site.

Offline Blackstar

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Re: KH-11 KENNEN
« Reply #1030 on: 05/20/2024 04:47 pm »
Or was it just P.E being more visionary than Kodak and planning their machinery in advance, just in case ?

I don't know. I was a bit surprised to learn this from Kodak people. And unfortunately, the one person I knew who could possibly shed light on it, Phil Pressel, died last year.

One wonders what would have launched it. Before late 80s i assume a ten foot mirror would have needed a shuttle or maybe a Titan IIIE ?


You meant to write "Starship," right?

Offline LittleBird

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Re: KH-11 KENNEN
« Reply #1031 on: 05/20/2024 04:54 pm »
Or was it just P.E being more visionary than Kodak and planning their machinery in advance, just in case ?

I don't know. I was a bit surprised to learn this from Kodak people. And unfortunately, the one person I knew who could possibly shed light on it, Phil Pressel, died last year.

One wonders what would have launched it. Before late 80s i assume a ten foot mirror would have needed a Shuttle or maybe a Titan IIIE ?


You meant to write "Starship," right?


Very witty Wilde Ö seriously though i assume that a 10 foot mirror needs a shroud or bay that is > 10 feet wide, and in those days that meant Shuttle or Titan Centaur, unless i am missing something.

We also know from Richelsonís eulogy article that Wheelon was keen on GEO imint, but we donít know exactly when.

For big mirrors nowadays that partially  declassified Jason report mentioned somewhere hereabouts remains a good source-in my highly non expert opinion.
« Last Edit: 05/21/2024 01:21 pm by LittleBird »

Offline Emmettvonbrown

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Re: KH-11 KENNEN
« Reply #1032 on: 05/20/2024 05:14 pm »
Shuttle payload bay was 15x60 ft and Titan had fairings large enough.

Offline Blackstar

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Re: KH-11 KENNEN
« Reply #1033 on: 05/20/2024 10:40 pm »
This interesting bit of information has popped out on the Hubble thread, downstairs this forum. Ok, so Perkin Elmers had the machinery in place to polish mirrors 3 m / 120 inch / 10 ft in diameter.

Which brings the unavoidable question: did the spooks ever dreamed of 3m diameter mirrors KH-11s ? 

Or was it just P.E being more visionary than Kodak and planning their machinery in advance, just in case ? "the one after KH-11, or a Block II, may request a 120 inch diameter..."

Just to note, if you go up-thread a bit, you'll see where I mentioned the 3-meter mirror subject a few months ago. After doing a bunch of interviews with former Kodak people, I have not done any more research or follow-up on this. My day job gets in the way of my hobby. (Which is why my TSR publishing has slowed down.)

Something raised over on that other thread was a comment about reducing the diameter from 3 meters to 2.4 meters because of mass. But that raises an interesting question: what did NASA understand about the mass of large optics at that time? Kodak had mastered lowering the mass of large mirrors (something that you can see a lot earlier in this thread). Did NASA know how much? Were they guessing? And of course the mirror is only part of the mass, and a 3-meter diameter spacecraft is going to weigh a lot more than a 2.4-meter diameter spacecraft, no matter how heavy the mirror. But I suspect that a lot of these decisions were iterative, rather than linear. In other words, they probably did not decide X, then Y, then Z, but they decided one thing (or had one thing decided for them) and then a bunch of other things quickly followed.

I don't think I mentioned it up-thread, but one of the things I got when I did my interviews was a photo of the Kodak Hubble proposal schematic (guy had it hanging on his wall). I have not compared it against the P-E Hubble proposal. I should do that.

Offline LittleBird

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Re: KH-11 KENNEN
« Reply #1034 on: 05/21/2024 07:25 am »
This interesting bit of information has popped out on the Hubble thread, downstairs this forum. Ok, so Perkin Elmers had the machinery in place to polish mirrors 3 m / 120 inch / 10 ft in diameter.

Which brings the unavoidable question: did the spooks ever dreamed of 3m diameter mirrors KH-11s ? 

Or was it just P.E being more visionary than Kodak and planning their machinery in advance, just in case ? "the one after KH-11, or a Block II, may request a 120 inch diameter..."

Just to note, if you go up-thread a bit, you'll see where I mentioned the 3-meter mirror subject a few months ago. After doing a bunch of interviews with former Kodak people, I have not done any more research or follow-up on this. My day job gets in the way of my hobby. (Which is why my TSR publishing has slowed down.)

Something raised over on that other thread was a comment about reducing the diameter from 3 meters to 2.4 meters because of mass. But that raises an interesting question: what did NASA understand about the mass of large optics at that time? Kodak had mastered lowering the mass of large mirrors (something that you can see a lot earlier in this thread). Did NASA know how much? Were they guessing?
Thereís also the related q of what determined _when_ something could be declassified and passed to NASA. I was for example surprised to discover that Lockheedís wrap rib antenna technology was made available to NASA for ATS 6 as early as 1967 or so (see sigint thread)-but not before NASA had sponsored 2 other companies to study designs Ö ;-) Is there any history that describes how such decisions were made or were they essentially ad hoc? I know there are some docs on the NASA-NRO liaison committee and a history of the interagency relationship.


« Last Edit: 05/21/2024 01:18 pm by LittleBird »

Offline Blackstar

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Re: KH-11 KENNEN
« Reply #1035 on: 05/21/2024 05:35 pm »
So I'm going to keep musing on this...

I have some nice images of artwork showing the 3-meter version of the Large Space Telescope. Probably date from around 1973. Unfortunately, they are film slides and I need to figure out how to scan them. I have not found them on the internet.

I know that books have been written about the development of Hubble. I suspect that new stuff could be written now that we're getting more info on the development of large optics in the 1970s.

Offline Targeteer

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Re: KH-11 KENNEN
« Reply #1036 on: 05/22/2024 02:22 am »
So I'm going to keep musing on this...

I have some nice images of artwork showing the 3-meter version of the Large Space Telescope. Probably date from around 1973. Unfortunately, they are film slides and I need to figure out how to scan them. I have not found them on the internet.

I know that books have been written about the development of Hubble. I suspect that new stuff could be written now that we're getting more info on the development of large optics in the 1970s.

Would a 3 meter mirror on HST fit in the shuttle cargo bay?
Best quote heard during an inspection, "I was unaware that I was the only one who was aware."

Offline LittleBird

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Re: KH-11 KENNEN
« Reply #1037 on: 05/22/2024 05:17 am »
So I'm going to keep musing on this...

I have some nice images of artwork showing the 3-meter version of the Large Space Telescope. Probably date from around 1973. Unfortunately, they are film slides and I need to figure out how to scan them. I have not found them on the internet.

I know that books have been written about the development of Hubble. I suspect that new stuff could be written now that we're getting more info on the development of large optics in the 1970s.

Would a 3 meter mirror on HST fit in the shuttle cargo bay?

It would surely fit the 15 foot bay that was flown, but I'd be curious about some of the smaller bays that iirc were discussed in the era when final shuttle commitment  was still not quite made (71-72 ish). Not a lot in print about details of this iirc except for "Spies and Shuttles" https://archive.org/details/spiesshuttlesnas0000davi and John Logsdon's Post-Apollo book.

The fact that KENNEN go-ahead preceded the Shuttle go ahead by a good fraction of a year means there is an interesting period when the Shuttle bay diameter (as opposed to length) could no longer be justified by size of committed future NRO imint birds. That's not to say that other likely NRO missions wouldn't have wanted the extra width. What I don't know is how many in government would have known this-or indeed cared.

[Edit: Will upload details when time permits but checked above two references and found that i) only payload in 1973 DoD mission model greater than 10 feet diameter was a polar orbit ocean surveillance satellite [David book], and ii) that David Packard made Fletcher aware in Oct 1971 that DoD payload restrictions were probably more flexible than NASA knew. Fletcher reassured him that 15 foot diameter was more NASA than DoD, while 60 foot length was vice versa. Interestingly designs as short as 45 feet were considered, whereas diameter was not less than 14 feet from my quick reading [Logsdon book] ]
« Last Edit: 05/23/2024 04:09 pm by LittleBird »

Offline edzieba

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Re: KH-11 KENNEN
« Reply #1038 on: 05/22/2024 10:15 am »
Then there's segmented mirror designs. Among many others, LAMP from Itek back in the mid 80's, and LODE from Lockheed in the late 70's, possibly some work occurring even earlier. Officially these mirrors were for space-based lasers, but it could hardly have escaped NRO's attention that their prime contractors were also working on much larger diameter mirrors ground to very high optical quality, and with other desirable features like actively controlled thinned substrates. Publicly, the only segmented design the NRO has acknowledged having anything to do with was the Segmented Mirror Telescope, but I don't think the NRO have ever acknowledged what programme it was attached to - FIA would be a good assumption, but the donated 2.4m optical assemblies (NGRST) have also been attributed to FIA.

Offline LittleBird

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Re: KH-11 KENNEN
« Reply #1039 on: 05/23/2024 02:55 pm »
Then there's segmented mirror designs. Among many others, LAMP from Itek back in the mid 80's, and LODE from Lockheed in the late 70's, possibly some work occurring even earlier. Officially these mirrors were for space-based lasers, but it could hardly have escaped NRO's attention that their prime contractors were also working on much larger diameter mirrors ground to very high optical quality, and with other desirable features like actively controlled thinned substrates. Publicly, the only segmented design the NRO has acknowledged having anything to do with was the Segmented Mirror Telescope Ö


Thatís actually changed recently, in that NRO has acknowledged the relation of some of its tech to JWST in response to a media request. I have a note of the article that quotes this somewhere and will dig out. They didnít actually say what the tech was, mind you, iirc.

[Edit: While I haven't found yet I did find this interesting report  https://ntrs.nasa.gov/api/citations/20120013223/downloads/20120013223.pdf with slides, attached below. I hadn't come across the partnership mentioned in the grab below before.]
« Last Edit: 05/23/2024 04:04 pm by LittleBird »

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