The Cornona Project
Computers and Technology
Submitted By g3t0b0y
THE CORONA PROJECT: AMERICA’S FIRST SPY SATELLITES
Curtis Peebles is empowering readers with the newly declassified information on how the first American satellites were set into use for intelligence gathering. Through his book, “The Corona Project: America’s First Spy Satellites”, the author gives detailed information on the birth of the satellite program by watching the Corona project from its beginnings in the late 1940s to the declassification of the project and its exhibitions at the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum. The book begins with a look into World War II and how the event of Pearl Harbor pressed the need for aerial reconnaissance. The first chapter gives the different technological challenges that had to be faced in order to achieve aerospace superiority. This chapter takes a close look into the development of the WS-117L reconnaissance satellite and how the two projects are related. The main thrust that the project received was from the launch of Sputnik I. With the Soviets now seemingly ahead, the author explains how the project was taken away from the Air Force who was failing with the WS-117L and passed the mission onto the CIA for the development of the Corona satellites. Peebles explains that the difference between the two programs is that the WS-117L promised almost real-time through radio-transmitted imagery while the Corona missions would drop the film from the nose cone for development. The engineering team faced numerous challenges in the task of getting the satellites into orbit as explained in chapter three. The chapter covers blundering trial after trial and the success finally achieved by Discoverer 13 after delivering its payload (an empty capsule) undamaged to the earth’s surface. Peebles goes into depth about the first sets of films that were recovered and developed in chapters four through six...