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US Spy Satellites Used to Drop Photos in 'Film Buckets' from Space for Airplanes to Catch in Mid-Air
1960s US Air Force satellites had to drop film with a parachute to be caught by a plane.

Strange as this seems, this is in fact how it worked, as you can see in the video above. Photographs captured by these so-called “Corona” satellites were shot on special 70 millimeter Kodak film using two panoramic cameras that evolved over the course of the program.

The satellites carried anywhere between 8,000 and 16,000 feet of film per camera (depending on the year and thickness of the film) and once one of these rolls was spent, it would be jettisoned in a GE reentry capsule nicknamed “film bucket.” This is where it gets interesting.

Of course, there were other, less dramatic ways to recover these capsules. They were also designed to be able to land at sea, where a salt plug would slowly dissolve and sink the film if it wasn’t recovered within two days. And after one was discovered by a Venezuelan farmer in ’64, the US Government stopped labeling them “Secret” and instead offered a reward in eight languages to anyone who returned it to the United States.
spy  history  photography  satellite  coldwar  video  petapixel 
5 weeks ago by bwiese
Explaining the ‘Mystery’ of Numbers Stations
From 1945 to 1956, the CIA and the British Secret Intelligence Service dispatched agents to support anti-Soviet guerrillas in the Baltic States, Belarus, and Ukraine. Most were captured with their radio transmitters and code books. The KGB used these codes to force captured agents to send signals back to their masters to lure more agents. In 1988, the KGB showed off these codebooks and transmitters in a TV movie called “The Game”.
crypto  coldwar  radio  spooks 
6 weeks ago by yorksranter
The British women who secretly served in the Cold War - BBC News
"My dad was tiling the kitchen at the time, and he said, 'Is it worth me putting these tiles on? Are we going to get bombed?'
radar  rotor  adge  c4istar  coldwar 
12 weeks ago by yorksranter

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