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.
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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.

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