Science

Declassified Satellites Offer Glimpse at Cold War Spying
Twenty-five years after their top-secret, Cold War-era missions ended, two clandestine American satellite programs were declassified Saturday and three closely guarded spy satellites revealed.

Hexagon spy satelllite description

This National Reconnaissance Office released graphic depicts the huge HEXAGON spy satellite, a Cold War era surveillance craft that flew reconnaissance missions from 1971 to 1986. The bus-size satellites weighed 30,000 pounds and were 60 feet long

NRO

hexagon spy satelllite display

The massive KH-9 Hexagon spy satellite on display at the Smithsonian National Air & Space Museum's Udvar-Hazy Center, after being declassified on Sept. 17, 2011. Longer than a school bus at 60 feet in length and weighing 30,000 pounds at launch, 20 KH-9 Hexagons were launched by the National Reconnaissance Office between 1971 and 1986.

Roger Guillemette/SPACE.com

Gambit-3 spy satelllite mission description

This image shows the flight profile for the NRO's GAMBIT 3 spy satellite missions between 1966 and 1984. The program was declassified in Sept. 2011.

NRO

Hexagon spy satelllite closeup

Phil Presser, one of the developers of the KH-9 Hexagon's panoramic camera system, proudly points out some of the spacecraft's once highly-classified features, a life's work that he had been unable to discuss publicly until the NRO's Sept. 17, 2011 declassification of the massive spy satellite.

Roger Guillemette/SPACE.com

Gambit spy satellite side

A side view of a KH-7 GAMBIT spy satellite on display at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum's Udvar-Hazy Center at Dulles Airport, Va., on Sept. 17, 2011.

Roger Guillemette/SPACE.com

Declassified Satellites Offer Glimpse at Cold War Spying

Twenty-five years after their top-secret, Cold War-era missions ended, two clandestine American satellite programs were declassified Saturday and three closely guarded spy satellites revealed.

More From Our Sponsors