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Posted: 12/26/2011 11:47:53 AM EDT
DANBURY, Conn. (AP) — For more than a decade they toiled in the strange, boxy-looking building on the hill above the municipal airport, the building with no windows (except in the cafeteria), the building filled with secrets.

They wore protective white jumpsuits, and had to walk through air-shower chambers before entering the sanitized “cleanroom” where the equipment was stored.

They spoke in code.

Few knew the true identity of “the customer” they met in a smoke-filled, wood-paneled conference room where the phone lines were scrambled. When they traveled, they sometimes used false names.

At one point in the 1970s there were more than 1,000 people in the Danbury area working on The Secret. And though they worked long hours under intense deadlines, sometimes missing family holidays and anniversaries, they could tell no one – not even their wives and children – what they did.

They were engineers, scientists, draftsmen and inventors – “real cloak-and-dagger guys,” says Fred Marra, 78, with a hearty laugh.

He is sitting in the food court at the Danbury Fair mall, where a group of retired co-workers from the former Perkin-Elmer Corp. gather for a weekly coffee. Gray-haired now and hard of hearing, they have been meeting here for 18 years. They while away a few hours nattering about golf and politics, ailments and grandchildren. But until recently, they were forbidden to speak about the greatest achievement of their professional lives.

http://www.theblaze.com/stories/heres-a-super-secret-cold-war-spy-satellite-program-revealed/
Link Posted: 12/26/2011 11:49:36 AM EDT
My mom was at the 50th anniversary dinner at Udvar-Hazy when the director of the NRO declassified the Hexagon and a couple of other platforms.
Link Posted: 12/27/2011 5:44:48 AM EDT
Very cool!
Link Posted: 12/27/2011 5:54:21 AM EDT
Is that the one that dropped film from the sky with parachutes?
Link Posted: 12/27/2011 6:00:19 AM EDT
awesome read.
Link Posted: 12/27/2011 6:00:33 AM EDT

Originally Posted By M4-AK:
Is that the one that dropped film from the sky with parachutes?

yes
Link Posted: 12/27/2011 6:06:12 AM EDT

Originally Posted By M4-AK:
Is that the one that dropped film from the sky with parachutes?

Yes,

And Perkin-Elmer was considered a prized place to work, with good salaries and benefits, golf and softball leagues, lavish summer picnics (the company would hire an entire amusement park for employees and their families) and dazzling children’s Christmas parties.

Now not so

Link Posted: 12/27/2011 6:06:45 AM EDT
I was just reading about this in the local paper this morning before work. Pretty cool, and Ive seen the building.
Link Posted: 12/27/2011 6:24:22 AM EDT
Link Posted: 12/27/2011 6:24:42 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 12/27/2011 6:26:04 AM EDT by Leisure_Shoot]

Originally Posted By M4-AK:
Is that the one that dropped film from the sky with parachutes?

wanting to find a picture of this, I did a google image search for: hexagon, big bird c-130 picture recovery

The ONE image that came up, was from an old ARF thread (no surprise at the info on this site).... http://www.ar15.com/forums/t_1_5/1232047__ARCHIVED_THREAD____Secret_Cold_War_Spy_Satellite_Program_Declassified__Finally_Revealed.html&page=1


Link Posted: 1/5/2012 6:54:31 AM EDT
Yeah, I just read about it on Fox:

http://www.foxnews.com/us/2011/12/26/decades-later-cold-war-secret-is-revealed/

It's the same AP story, but I think this link might be more persistent, for posterity's sake.

This part especially grabbed my attention:
Several years later, after numerous successful launches, he was shown what Hexagon was capable of — an image of his own house in suburban Fairfield.

"This was light years before Google Earth," Prusak said. "And we could clearly see the pool in my backyard."

It made me wonder if all that talk about "remote viewing" was really just disinfo designed to at least partially throw the Soviets (and others) off the track of how we knew all that stuff about their classified operations...
Link Posted: 1/5/2012 7:30:42 AM EDT
Originally Posted By shooter_tx:
Yeah, I just read about it on Fox:

http://www.foxnews.com/us/2011/12/26/decades-later-cold-war-secret-is-revealed/

It's the same AP story, but I think this link might be more persistent, for posterity's sake.

This part especially grabbed my attention:
Several years later, after numerous successful launches, he was shown what Hexagon was capable of — an image of his own house in suburban Fairfield.

"This was light years before Google Earth," Prusak said. "And we could clearly see the pool in my backyard."

It made me wonder if all that talk about "remote viewing" was really just disinfo designed to at least partially throw the Soviets (and others) off the track of how we knew all that stuff about their classified operations...


They knew. And the Soviets/Russians obviously had their own satellites too. If you move a satellite too often to "surprise" your enemy, so they don't hide something you want to see too often, you run out of fuel quite quickly.

Although Hexagon and other spysats/reconnaissance projects before it have been declassified not all the details have been, there's lots of speculation about "dark sats" that have
big carbon fiber umbrellas pointed at Earth so they're hard to track, and even what all the tricks some of the larger recon assets like Hexagon did or used. So besides the main classes of satellites that get used for more "strategic" recon, mapping the earth regularly in a mostly set pattern of orbits and times, there may be others used for quicker more "tactical" recon when data closer to real-time is needed.

And nobody's said a peep about what's come after the film satellites. Presumably CCD's or other sensors and direct digital transmission of imagery is now how it's done.

One of the big "secrets" of the Cold War was that we often purposely over-estimated Soviet strengths and capabilities, or at least used the most liberal interpretations of our intel to make sure we didn't get any unwanted defense cuts out of Congress.

Link Posted: 1/5/2012 11:34:46 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/5/2012 11:37:52 AM EDT by shooter_tx]
Originally Posted By AJ_Dual:
Originally Posted By shooter_tx:
Yeah, I just read about it on Fox:

http://www.foxnews.com/us/2011/12/26/decades-later-cold-war-secret-is-revealed/

It's the same AP story, but I think this link might be more persistent, for posterity's sake.

This part especially grabbed my attention:
Several years later, after numerous successful launches, he was shown what Hexagon was capable of — an image of his own house in suburban Fairfield.

"This was light years before Google Earth," Prusak said. "And we could clearly see the pool in my backyard."

It made me wonder if all that talk about "remote viewing" was really just disinfo designed to at least partially throw the Soviets (and others) off the track of how we knew all that stuff about their classified operations...

They knew. And the Soviets/Russians obviously had their own satellites too.

Yup. From the article:

"In 1975, a '60 Minutes' television piece on space reconnaissance described an "Alice in Wonderland" world, where American and Soviet intelligence officials knew of each other's "eyes in the sky" — and other nations did, too — but no one confirmed the programs or spoke about them publicly."

Although Hexagon and other spysats/reconnaissance projects before it have been declassified not all the details have been, there's lots of speculation about "dark sats" that have
big carbon fiber umbrellas pointed at Earth so they're hard to track, and even what all the tricks some of the larger recon assets like Hexagon did or used. So besides the main classes of satellites that get used for more "strategic" recon, mapping the earth regularly in a mostly set pattern of orbits and times, there may be others used for quicker more "tactical" recon when data closer to real-time is needed.

I know it's just a movie, but in one of those Tom Clancy movies they're in the [IIRC] North African desert and waiting for one of our spy satellites to get out of range/orbit, and then they move as soon as it's clear.

I remember watching that (in high school, IIRC) and thinking "Oh, yeah, right... like we don't have a black sat following right behind that one?!?"

And nobody's said a peep about what's come after the film satellites. Presumably CCD's or other sensors and direct digital transmission of imagery is now how it's done.

One of the big "secrets" of the Cold War was that we often purposely over-estimated Soviet strengths and capabilities, or at least used the most liberal interpretations of our intel to make sure we didn't get any unwanted defense cuts out of Congress.

Right. I remember reading that, and how Reagan and his admin were masters at it. Wish I could find that article... it was about 8 years ago.
Link Posted: 1/5/2012 11:50:09 AM EDT

Originally Posted By dryflash3:
The story has been on the History channel before.

Corona was the program name.

This is about Hexagon aka KH-9.

Corona was a previous version.

NRO recently declassified some Hexagon stuff, even had a Hexagon on display for a day back in Sept. at Udvar-Hazy.


Link Posted: 1/5/2012 11:58:12 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/5/2012 11:59:05 AM EDT by shooter_tx]
Originally Posted By RenegadeX:
Originally Posted By dryflash3:
The story has been on the History channel before.

Corona was the program name.

This is about Hexagon aka KH-9.

Corona was a previous version.

Yeah, meant to quote from the article earlier:

"There had been earlier space spy satellites — Corona and Gambit. But neither had the resolution or sophistication of Hexagon, which took close-range pictures of Soviet missiles, submarine pens and air bases, even entire battalions on war exercises."

NRO recently declassified some Hexagon stuff, even had a Hexagon on display for a day back in Sept. at Udvar-Hazy.

http://i839.photobucket.com/albums/zz314/Umbrarian/Misc/HexagonOnDisplay.jpg

Link Posted: 1/5/2012 11:58:36 AM EDT
So much info had been leaked about the KH-9 over the years there was no reason not to declassify it.
Link Posted: 1/5/2012 11:59:27 AM EDT

Originally Posted By shooter_tx:

NRO recently declassified some Hexagon stuff, even had a Hexagon on display for a day back in Sept. at Udvar-Hazy.

http://i839.photobucket.com/albums/zz314/Umbrarian/Misc/HexagonOnDisplay.jpg


The follow on satellites were even bigger.
Link Posted: 1/5/2012 12:05:53 PM EDT
It was very cramped for those little fotomat guys up inside that thing.
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