Broadcast 2409 (Special Edition)

06 Feb 2015 Phil Pressel
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Guest: Phil Pressel. Topics: The Hexagon Program and the Hexagon KHY-9 cameras used in our spy satellites. Please direct all comments and questions regarding Space Show programs/guest(s) to the Space Show blog, Comments and questions should be relevant to the specific Space Show program. Written Transcripts of Space Show programs are a violation of our copyright and are not permitted without prior written consent, even if for your own use. We do not permit the commercial use of Space Show programs or any part thereof, nor do we permit editing, YouTube clips, or clips placed on other private channels & websites. Space Show programs can be quoted, but the quote must be cited or referenced using the proper citation format. Contact The Space Show for further information. In addition, please remember that your Amazon purchases can help support The Space Show/OGLF. See For those listening to archives using and rating the programs, please email me as to why you assign a specific rating to the show. This will help me bring better programming to the audience. We welcomed Phil Pressel to the show to discuss the Hexagon KH-9 spy satellites cameras used in the Hexagon program 1971-86. During the first segment of this 100 minute program, we had a technical glitch in the first fifteen minutes so we restarted the program working off my notes. You will hear the details of this in the special recorded message I used as part of the replacement program introduction. Mr. Pressel was the project engineer in charge of the design of the formerly top secret Hexagon KH-9 camera as part of the Hexagon program which was finally declassified in 2011. Phil prepared a Power Point presentation with important Hexagon KH-9 photos so you need to access this presentation during this program. You will find the PPT on The Space Show blog, for this program and the Feb. 6, 2015 date. Again, you need to be following along with Phil (he jumps around with different pictures and slides) to get the maximum benefit of this program and to understand Hexagon. Most of the first segment Phil explained the challenges, the mission, and many of the technical aspects of the two cameras, the special film developed by Kodak, and the retrieval process for the film. He focused on some of the specific slides showing us the components of the camera and how it worked, plus he described the workings to us in quite some detail. Near the end of the first segment, questions started coming in about controlling the cameras, telemetry, and more. In the second segment, Phil said the key to the system was the Twister which he explained to us using slide #23. Michael Listner called to congratulate Phil and the team for this project and their service to the nation. After Phil and Michael talked and Phil described the Twister, Dwayne called wanting to know how big of an area was captured by the cameras. As you will hear, it was a big area. They talked about the Push Broom Method of scanning which Hexagon used to some degree, its polar orbit and the huge amount of imaging done by the satellite. Phil also described the process of getting the hardware to Lockheed, & the vibration and shake tests done with the camera and the satellite. BJohn wanted to know how the Soviet spy cameras of the day measured up to Hexagon. Both Dwayne and Phil offered their perspectives and both did not think the Soviets could match Hexagon but not much data has been released on this by Russia. Phil talked about their security and even keeping silent about their real job with their families until the project was finally declassified. Phil continued explaining how the camera worked and took us through more reference slides and pictures. I believe you will find this to be a fascinating discussion and a look behind the scenes with the CIA and FBI during the Cold War. We thank Phil Pressel and his team for their amazing contribution to this nation and their service to the country and us all. Please post your comments/questions on TSS blog above. You can contact Phil Pressel through my email,



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