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NRO To Declassify Cold-War Spy-Sat Tech

timothy posted more than 3 years ago | from the time-to-rewatch-the-falcon-and-the-snowman dept.

The Military 77

Muad'Dave writes "The National Reconnaissance Office is set to reveal details of two of the cold war's most capable spy satellite programs on September 17th — the GAMBIT and HEXAGON projects, aka the keyhole KH-7, -8, and -9 satellites. These bus-sized sats provided critical imagery during the height of the cold war, and were likely the inspiration for the movie Ice Station Zebra. The article links midway down the first page provide a fascinating look into the world of real spy-vs-spy, cloak-and-dagger intelligence gathering."

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It's nice to know stuff 60 years after it matters (-1, Troll)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 3 years ago | (#37409808)

Maybe in about 60 years they'll finally declassify all the skeevy shit the CIA/NSA/MIA have been doing in the middle east, U.S., and elsewhere in the last ten years. Then Julian Assange's survivors can finally prove that he really *was* set up by the CIA on those rape charges (turns out your grandpa didn't deserve to die in prison after all, sorry about that). Not that it does a whole helluva lot of good to learn all the important shit six decades after-the-fact. But at least you can put together a nice museum display about it, for tour groups of bored schoolchildren to ignore.

Re:It's nice to know stuff 60 years after it matte (3, Insightful)

NoNonAlphaCharsHere (2201864) | more than 3 years ago | (#37409946)

Oh fer chrissake, it's a tech article, not a tinfoil-hat Wikileaks article. Let's talk about how the Keyholes were the prototypes for Hubble.

Re:It's nice to know stuff 60 years after it matte (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 3 years ago | (#37410000)

Dude you can not take reason with the an unquestioning true believer.

Re:It's nice to know stuff 60 years after it matte (1, Insightful)

MikeBabcock (65886) | more than 3 years ago | (#37410446)

The number of scary things the US military and CIA have done in the last 50 years is well-documented and not tinfoil-hat material. Sure, Assange may or may not have been set up, but the point remains that a lot of what was going on then that we know about now would have been assumed to be paranoia by those who thought it to be true at the time too.

In sixty or seventy years, when the truth is declassified about now, you might not be around for the "i told you so" ... so do yourself a favour and assume a zebra doesn't change its stripes much.

Re:It's nice to know stuff 60 years after it matte (1)

cellocgw (617879) | more than 3 years ago | (#37411130)

In sixty or seventy years, when the truth is declassified about now, you might not be around for the "i told you so" ... so do yourself a favour and assume a zebra doesn't change its stripes much.

I'm assuming you meant "assume an Ice Station Zebra doesn't change..." here.

Re:It's nice to know stuff 60 years after it matte (1)

rednip (186217) | more than 3 years ago | (#37411854)

The only thing that one can say for certain about 60-70 years from now, there will always be people filling 'news entertainment' with stories of governmental conspiracies and plans. It's an easy business to be in, and people like Glenn Beck will continue to exploit the easily fooled for financial gain.

According to your 'schedule' we should just now be finding out all of the terrible things that people like you claimed happened in the 30's, 40's, and 50's. Can you point out one thing that was effectively 'suppressed by the government' in the same manner that you might suggest is commonplace?

Re:It's nice to know stuff 60 years after it matte (1)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 3 years ago | (#37413050)

Can you point out one thing that was effectively 'suppressed by the government' in the same manner that you might suggest is commonplace?

I can do better than than. How about a whole book [amazon.com] of them?

Re:It's nice to know stuff 60 years after it matte (2)

x6060 (672364) | more than 3 years ago | (#37413448)

Wow, Thats amazing that you mention a book I read recently that doesnt point really any terrible things the CIA did. Its more of a history of the organization. Hardly anything as damning as you're trying to make it out to be.

Re:It's nice to know stuff 60 years after it matte (1)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 3 years ago | (#37440032)

doesnt point really any terrible things the CIA did

You obviously read a different book. That's pretty much ALL "Legacy of Ashes" does. It's the most damning critique of the CIA ever produced (among REPUTABLE journalists anyway, not tinfoil hat types).

Re:It's nice to know stuff 60 years after it matte (1)

rednip (186217) | more than 3 years ago | (#37416080)

I'll take that as a 'no I cannot'; you might as well point at a pubic library and claim 'it's in there'.

I'm sure that anything 'big' in that tome was widely known at the time or exposed within a few years. Sure, the operational details might be classified, but you would seem to claim that there are big secrets still hidden. I know for a fact that the CIA sometimes goes out and kills people and the eavesdropping worries me, but it's not well hidden. People leak stories, especially as they grow older, disgusted, or poor.

Is there some big scandal brewing now, perhaps some detail that has thus so far remained hidden? Any rational person would say maybe, to that question, I might even say 'probably', however, most details flush out within a decade, even if congress or the media doesn't decide to shine a spotlight on the subject. Sure there are some men who try to be 'the man who really runs things', some even succeed a little, but they never really do so as quietly as they'd like. Just ask the Koch brothers, or Murdock.

Re:It's nice to know stuff 60 years after it matte (1)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 3 years ago | (#37440066)

There is still stuff from the 50's and 60's that they've never even declassified yet (or is still so heavily redacted as to be useless). And you think all the details of this "War on Terrorism" are coming out within a decade?!? We'll be lucky to see any of the real nasty stuff in our LIFETIMES, much less in ten years.

Re:It's nice to know stuff 60 years after it matte (1)

swanzilla (1458281) | more than 3 years ago | (#37410008)

+1 incoherent

Re:It's nice to know stuff 60 years after it matte (1)

Gideon Wells (1412675) | more than 3 years ago | (#37410092)

That's the idea of voluntarily declassifying this information. You seem to want all intelligence automatically posted to a Twitter feed. These are groups who seem some days to think using lemons and water to make invisible ink should still be classified.

They aren't going to release relatively recent information on ongoing wars and their alleged operations against a person they see as a near terrorist just because in an ideal world we citizens should know what the government is doing in our name.

Latest Stuff (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37409990)

Wide band SDR, recording all bands with a 400-500dBm floor, storing at least 1.33x10^12 petabytes per day.

Everything from human thought, to pirate radio...

Re:Latest Stuff (2)

geoffrobinson (109879) | more than 3 years ago | (#37411752)

"human thought..."

Are you wearing your tinfoil hat?

Re:Latest Stuff (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37411872)

You obviously don't understand the principle of an oscillator, or you would recognize the same principle in a firing neuron.

Re:Latest Stuff (2)

poofmeisterp (650750) | more than 3 years ago | (#37413046)

Oh yeah. That Sat' sure can read the brainwave patterns of a single Human being from 120 miles above the surface. Easy!

Pfft.

Re:Latest Stuff (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37416262)

Um, an oscillator is something that has a gain >1. Where is this mechanism in a neuron? I think you're just trying to impress by using vocabulary you barely understand yourself... Also, please explain how a satellite can tell apart the brainwaves of all these different people, since their neurons would all be on the same baseband frequency... In conclusion, you're a chucklehead. Probably a Space Nutter too.

the movie was based on the novel (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37410034)

the novel Ice Station Zebra by Alistair MacLean came out in 1963. it was later adapted into the movie Ice Station Zebra in 1968.

Re:the movie was based on the novel (1)

Ashe Tyrael (697937) | more than 3 years ago | (#37410318)

Lets put it this way. The movie was Very Loosely based on the novel.

Re:the movie was based on the novel (1)

Capt.DrumkenBum (1173011) | more than 3 years ago | (#37411876)

Most times now it is not even loosely based on the novel.

Re:the movie was based on the novel (1)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | more than 3 years ago | (#37412148)

Yes, Alistair MacLean. In all his novels the story will be in a first person narrative, and the protagonist will get tired and tired and tired and tired. And then he will get tired.

Re:the movie was based on the novel (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 3 years ago | (#37419722)

...of these motherfucking snakes on this motherfucking plane?

Does anyone know more? (1)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 3 years ago | (#37410104)

According to several sources, the NRO plans to display several declassified objects on the grounds of the Smithsonianâ(TM)s Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Museum for a short period of time, possibly only on September 17. One of these objects is the massive camera system from the KH-9 HEXAGON. Another is the camera system from the KH-7 GAMBIT.

Some /.er has to know more.
Make a few phone calls if you have to!

If they're only on display for one day, I'll make a special trip to the museum.
They already have an older keyhole satellite in their collection, with a part of it on display.
The film retrieval system was "we're going to have a plane catch it in mid-air".

Re:Does anyone know more? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37410656)

After that they will be permanently displayed at the Air Force museum in Dayton, it's not like they'll be put back in the government warehouses.

Re:Does anyone know more? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37414816)

After that they will be permanently displayed at the Air Force museum in Dayton, it's not like they'll be put back in the government warehouses.

They had to make room for the crate with the big golden box in it.

What's a cubit?

Re:Does anyone know more? (1)

dbarlett (690999) | more than 3 years ago | (#37411390)

According to a now-removed media advisory [googleusercontent.com] from 9/13:

The Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum and the National Reconnaissance Office will be hosting a one-day-only viewing opportunity of the newly declassified HEXAGON (KH-9) satellite in the parking lot of the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center Saturday, Sept. 17. This is the first time the public will be able to view this impressive spacecraft, and it will be the only opportunity to see it in the Washington area for some time.

Re:Does anyone know more? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37414510)

Yes, the KH-9 and KH-7 will be on display for Saturday only. There's an AIAA reception in the evening with a lot of NRO folks there, but tickets are sold out (got mine just in time) so Saturday during the day is your only option, otherwise you'll have to wait until they are on display in Dayton.

Both these satellites are also film retrieval systems like CORONA, with mid-air-snatch. The KH-9 had a row of five reentry 'buckets' and shot them off one by one as they filled up, a Honolulu-based squadron caught them as the floated down over the Pacific.

Re:Does anyone know more? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37416752)

From the Smithsonian website:

http://www.nasm.si.edu/events/eventDetail.cfm?eventID=3332

fp maRe (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37410118)

Dying. Everyone lube is w1ped oof To the politically

The book by Alistair MacLean.... (1)

xzvf (924443) | more than 3 years ago | (#37410120)

The movie Ice Station Zebra was nice, but at least reference the book it was based on. http://www.amazon.com/Ice-Station-Zebra-Alistair-MacLean/dp/1402790333/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1316100563&sr=8-4 [amazon.com] Especially sense it was just re-released.

Re:The book by Alistair MacLean.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37410754)

Correct. The book (not the satellites) was the inspiration for the movie. And it was much better, too.

Re:The book by Alistair MacLean.... (1)

mcswell (1102107) | more than 3 years ago | (#37416202)

Which was better?

Is this the book that seemed to imply that satellites in polar orbits never passed over any part of the Earth but the poles?

(It's possible I mis-remember, but I'm pretty sure I didn't misunderstand--I recall reading the passage several times, trying to get some sensible interpretation out of it.)

Re:The book by Alistair MacLean.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37412158)

I especially liked his book on fly fishing.

also found on The Space Review site: (1)

Thud457 (234763) | more than 3 years ago | (#37410190)

heh [thespacereview.com] .

Re:also found on The Space Review site: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37410330)

That is genius.

It was Discovery II Corona that inspired the movie (2)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 3 years ago | (#37410388)

"The plot has parallels to events reported in news stories from April 1959, concerning a missing experimental CORONA satellite capsule (Discoverer II) that inadvertently landed near Spitsbergen, situated in the Arctic Ocean on April 13, which was believed to have been recovered by Soviet agents."
The book was published in 1963 the first KH-7 was launched in July of 1963 so the math doesn't add up for the Gambit to be the satellite in the book.

Best example of a Cold War Optical Spy Sat... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37410520)

...is the Hubble Space Telescope.

KH-11 is a copy of Hubble? (1)

TheDarkMaster (1292526) | more than 3 years ago | (#37410662)

I opened the larger version from the picture from article (the size comparasion between the sats), and for my, the KH-11 are a copy from Hubble

Re:KH-11 is a copy of Hubble? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37411020)

I think the better description is that hubble is a specialist version of a kh-11 pointing the wrong way.

For instance it has been stated that the reason that the mirror on the hubble is the size it is (2.4m), is that it uses the same mirror size as spy satellited to reduce development and production costs. The likely candidate is the kh-11. There are probably many other things lifted from spy satellite technology onto the hubble that we don't know about.

Re:KH-11 is a copy of Hubble? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37412050)

Checkout "The Hubble Wars" it is fun read on the planning and launch of the Hubble telescope.
http://www.amazon.com/Hubble-Wars-Astrophysics-Astropolitics-Two-Billion-Dollar/dp/0674412559

Re:KH-11 is a copy of Hubble? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37412898)

The Hubble is the size it is because of the size (and shape) of the space shuttle cargo bay. The Department of Defense redesigned the shuttle cargo bay after NASA begged the DOD to piggyback on the shuttle's lift capacity so NASA could get funds to build the shuttle in the first place (after congress cut NASA funds to the bone late in the Apollo program). DOD needed a way to get KH satellites in orbit, and a match was made in heaven (OK, in low earth orbit). A rocket launch can only put a paylod into one possible orbit, while the shuttle could take of into one orbit, change orbits pretty much at will and so make possible many many orbits for the satellite payload.

An awful lot of early shuttle missions were DOD missions about which the US public knew nothing but the launch date...but the Russians guessed what was going on by watching which contractors had personnel at the launch facilities on a given date. And I'm sure they radar tracked what was going on up there...

Re:KH-11 is a copy of Hubble? (1)

Rich0 (548339) | more than 3 years ago | (#37416426)

Uh, the shuttle isn't really capable of making significant changes in orbit - beyond what is possible with another launcher. In particular inclination changes are very expensive. Plus, these satellites are big so it isn't like the shuttle could carry a bunch on one flight.

The original concept behind the shuttle was launching something or taking pictures from polar orbit and de-orbiting on the swing back around the earth, landing back where it started (ie a suborbital flight that just barely makes it around the earth once). This is why it needed wings, since the launch facility would be a few hundred miles east of the orbital path. It never actually did this. In fact, I'm not sure what its cargo capacity to polar orbit would be, or how much it could return to earth with such an orbit (it takes more energy to get to polar orbit and that is more energy to bleed off on re-entry).

Re:KH-11 is a copy of Hubble? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37411038)

I always thought it was an example of hyperbole on the part of the writers in Enemy of the State when Gene Hackman's character says the line about the Hubble and their being 10 others pointed back down at Earth. Only years later did I find out that it was true.

ObStan (1)

michaelmalak (91262) | more than 3 years ago | (#37410664)

I Wanna Be a Boss [elyrics.net]

Now if I find a product I like
I'll buy up the whole company
Shave my face, and grin and smile
And then I'll sell it on tv
And everyone will know me
I'll be more famous than howard hughes
I'll grow a long beard and watch
Ice station zebra in the nude

big tools but couldn't guess 9/11 ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37410730)

or maybe they've been ordered to look elsewhere ? after all, bush was about iraq since day 1 and while he may have not percieved the manitude of the islamist / ben laden threat, any blast for real finally "helped" him to promote his "cause"..
Use of the US army as a private army ( saddam tried to kill Bush 41, no need to mention how much the bush family is involved in oil related business ). Finally all the world knew something was going on prior to 9/11 except the USA.. see : book of clinton 'my life', when he left the white house and see
http://www.reuters.com/article/newsOne/idUSL1612543820070416
http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,266291,00.html
http://en.wikinews.org/wiki/France_knew_of_and_told_CIA_about_al-Qaeda_hijack_plans_prior_to_9/11 http://www.truthout.org/docs_2006/041707J.shtml

9/11 was not an intelligence failure (1)

Lead Butthead (321013) | more than 3 years ago | (#37412100)

All the intelligence collection can't fix an inter-departmental communication failure. Yet each year, US government grants itself ever more sweeping intelligence collection power. I wonder if the inter-departmental communication problem was ever fixed?

Spy Satellites were a pain in the butt... (2)

SwedishChef (69313) | more than 3 years ago | (#37410836)

Back in the 1970s I had the pleasure of working on several large-scale classified projects (one included a large ship). Everything we did had to be done on a schedule that would take into account whether a Soviet spy satellite was passing over or not. I can remember being frustrated that this caused a lot of extra work and time but at least we knew when NOT to do something.

I suspect that it's a lot more difficult now.

Re:Spy Satellites were a pain in the butt... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37411252)

Back in the 1970s I had the pleasure of working on several large-scale classified projects (one included a large ship).

Was this in Philadelphia, by any chance?

Re:Spy Satellites were a pain in the butt... (1)

SwedishChef (69313) | more than 3 years ago | (#37411760)

Yup... but mostly on the west coast for me. :)

Re:Spy Satellites were a pain in the butt... (1)

guruevi (827432) | more than 3 years ago | (#37411886)

These days those arrangements are thwarted by Facebook and Twitter.

Re:Spy Satellites were a pain in the butt... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37412218)

I always love women name Jennifer. Keeping track of all those Cosmos launches was always a pain in the arse.

Re:Spy Satellites were a pain in the butt... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37412816)

I have been to a military installation that has a building that does not exist. That building, which does not exist, has a giant door which (obviously) does not exist either. Any time a satellite is passing over head, that door closes automatically. Any time I have occasion to walk by, they close it as well.

Re:Spy Satellites were a pain in the butt... (1)

mcswell (1102107) | more than 3 years ago | (#37416218)

This building wouldn't be a porta-potty, would it? That might explain the location of the pain...

Re:Spy Satellites were a pain in the butt... (1)

recharged95 (782975) | more than 3 years ago | (#37414332)

As of the 90's and 00's when I was in the biz. Yes, much more complicated.

Anyway, was a pleasure here too... good people, good tech, good missions, "boring" job (i.e. that you can't talk about it).

Re:Spy Satellites were a pain in the butt... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37416534)

one included a large ship

USNS Glomar Explorer?

Re:Spy Satellites were a pain in the butt... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37418916)

Now we just read your emails and intercept outsourced cad... Only in America! I Love this country!

Proven Technology (2)

necro81 (917438) | more than 3 years ago | (#37411538)

I recall in college being given a problem set on optics, which considered whether it was possible for the US Government to actually read license plates from space. This question asked us to consider the Hubble Space Telescope and its diffraction limit (setting aside atmospheric disturbance), and compare that to the angular size of the letters on a license plate when viewed from low Earth orbit. Why consider the question using the Hubble, and not some hypothetical spy satellite? Well, the size of the Hubble's mirror was well known, whereas the size and configuration of spy satellites was still classified. "But," said the professor with a wink, "the sizing of Hubble was based in part on what was already known to be possible." The graphic accompanying the article shows a KH-9 that looks a whole lot like a Hubble.

Re:Proven Technology (2)

wiredog (43288) | more than 3 years ago | (#37412490)

And the answer is, well, no. Unless the license plate is laying flat on the ground, and the Hubble is in a 90 mile orbit. If the plate is on a car it's too far for a look from the side.

And, as you said, this leaves out atmospherics.

Re:Proven Technology (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37412860)

More than just the mirror sizing -- when the Hubble was flown, the unexpected flexing of the large solar panel wings due to thermal expansion and contraction as the Hubble flew in and out of the Earth's shadow caused some initial tracking problems. When Hubble engineers mentioned this to their colleagues in the military, they got a similar wink and a comment along the lines of "yea, that can happen with that kind of panel arrangement..."

Re:Proven Technology (3, Interesting)

DerekLyons (302214) | more than 3 years ago | (#37412880)

"But," said the professor with a wink, "the sizing of Hubble was based in part on what was already known to be possible."

Hubble's size, weight, and CG were based on what was possible within the Shuttle's cargo bay. The size, weight, and CG capabilities of the Shuttle's cargo bay were based on current and reasonable future spy birds.
 
QED
 
That being said, the optical path (and weight/CG) are probably going to differ somewhat between Hubble and a notional spy bird. Hubble looks straight out axially, while spy birds are generally believed to have a mirror that allows an axial camera to look out the side of bird. There's also some debate over whether or not the supposed mirror is fixed or movable. There are advantages and disadvantages to both approaches.

Re:Proven Technology (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37416078)

Puts the near-sighted hubble mirror in a new perspective.

The commercial outfits are now that good (2)

Animats (122034) | more than 3 years ago | (#37412904)

Digital Globe [digitalglobe.com] and GeoEye [geoeye.com] now operate commercial imagery satellites. That's where Microsoft and Google get their imagery for areas where they don't have close aerial coverage. DoD buys a lot of their info. Best commercial resolution is 45cm. Which, realistically, is enough to find most threats that can be seen from above.

Digital Globe has an analysis of Osama bin Laden's compound in Pakistan. [digitalglobe.com] .

Re:The commercial outfits are now that good (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37414376)

It's good cause they have history with "the guys" like DoD/DMA/NGA:

Digital Globe: EarthWatch, WorldView, Intergraph, TerraSat, etc...
Geoeye: Orbimage, space imaging, etc...

There's a connected history and why they are so good today....if you look for it.

Re:The commercial outfits are now that good (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37417606)

45cm, while realistically is good enough to spot things like large cold-war apparatus, isn't good enough to do things like discern between decoy equipment without multi-sensor data. Also, while 45cm is good, it isn't AS good as the state of the art.

When you get into the current zany missions, ie FIND TERR'RISTS WITH DIS SATELLITE SHIT BRAH, you really need all you can get.

Nice NOVA documentary (2)

plopez (54068) | more than 3 years ago | (#37412964)

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/military/astrospies.html [pbs.org]

I highly recommend it. The Soviets actually got a manned space satellite to work. Which is probably where they learned so much about extended space missions.

Re:Nice NOVA documentary (1)

DerekLyons (302214) | more than 3 years ago | (#37415830)

The Soviets actually got a manned space satellite to work.

That's known as "making lemonade out of lemons". The Soviets pursued that path because their automatic systems were not up to the task. The US did not, not only because our systems were up to the task, but because the vibrations caused by men on/adjacent to the camera reduced it's resolution
 

Which is probably where they learned so much about extended space missions.

Not really. The Almaz stations were only visited three times - for a total stay length of only 81 days. (Two missions of two odd weeks, one of just under two months.) The long duration stays were on the Salyut stations. The really long duration stays were on MIR.

Re:Nice NOVA documentary (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37416372)

"because the vibrations caused by men on/adjacent to the camera reduced it's resolution"

Ah, then I guess that also explains that extra apostrophe in your possessive pronoun?

Re:Nice NOVA documentary (1)

plopez (54068) | more than 3 years ago | (#37422486)

I know of Salyut amd MIR. But I think the spy satelitte came first.
81 days was pretty long in those days in a space station, when the US was only in space for a few days to/from the moon in a capsule. It served as "proof of concept" and probably worked out a few bugs in the process.

Re:Nice NOVA documentary (1)

DerekLyons (302214) | more than 3 years ago | (#37423050)

81 days was pretty long in those days in a space station, when the US was only in space for a few days to/from the moon in a capsule.

Nope. Skylab accumulated 171 days by 1973, while it took until 1977 for Almaz/Salyut to accumulate 81 days. In fact, Skylab 3 (1973) accumulated 84 days all by itself.
 
On top of that, the Soviets wouldn't bust the Skylab total time accumulated record until 1977, or the Skylab single mission record until 1977/78. And it took them 11 manned flights or flight attempts (I.E launched, but failed to dock with the station or otherwise had to abort the mission) to bust those records - vice three for Skylab. (The record for station launches is similarly dismal.)

Ice Station Zebra Movie (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37413104)

I have always liked that movie. A nice submarine movie with a Cold War spy thriller theme as well. Has a fine performances from Rock Hudson, Patrick McGoohan, and Ernest Borgnine.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0063121/

http://www.amazon.com/Ice-Station-Zebra-Rock-Hudson/dp/B0006B2A42

Re:Ice Station Zebra Movie (1)

kermyt (99494) | more than 3 years ago | (#37415402)

David Jones: The Russians put our camera made by *our* German scientists and your film made by *your* German scientists into their satellite made by *their* German scientists.

Resolution? (1)

wfstanle (1188751) | more than 3 years ago | (#37414320)

That is an interesting question. I don't know what can be made out by the military spy sattelites but my experiencr with Google maps is this. I can clearly make out who has and has not a backyard fence in my subdivision. Also I was a backpacker and knew exactly where some foot paths were. I could detect some of them in a Google maps satellite picture. By the way, these paths were not very heavily traveled (they were in the Wind River Range) and the paths were sometimes hard to follow at ground level.

Re:Resolution? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37415464)

"I could detect some of them in a Google maps satellite picture"

The vast bulk of google's high resolution imagery is not from satellites, it's from aircraft.

Correction.... (1)

recharged95 (782975) | more than 3 years ago | (#37414450)

"since the mid-1990s, when an executive order signed by President Clinton—apparently over some opposition from NRO leadership—declassified the CORONA reconnaissance satellite program"

No the biggest thing they released in the 90's was during 1992: That the NRO existed.

What have they got now (1)

MrKaos (858439) | more than 3 years ago | (#37419028)

and I bet they don't need film anymore

Re:What have they got now (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37424936)

What have they got now
and I bet they don't need film anymore

I dunno, and I don't have a need to know.

But speaking as a nerd, the thing I like most about these sorts of stories is that we get to find out in 2030-2040, which is still within my expected lifetime.

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