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Discoverer 17



Discoverer 17 was a USAF photographic surveillance satellite designed to assess how rapidly the Soviet Union was producing long-range bombers and ballistic missiles, and where they were being deployed. It was part of the Corona program which was also used to produce maps and charts for the Department of Defense and other US government mapping programs.

The satellite used a film canister that was returned to earth in a capsule (a.k.a. bucket) for evaulation. These capsules were designed to be recovered by a specially equipped aircraft during parachute descent, but were also designed to float to permit recovery from the ocean. All film were black and white. Discoverer 17's film capsule was recovered 2.1 days after launch.

Alternate Names

  • KH-2 9012
  • 00061

Facts in Brief

Launch Date: 1960-11-12
Launch Vehicle: Thor
Launch Site: Vandenberg AFB, United States
Mass: 1091.0 kg

Funding Agency

  • Department of Defense-Department of the Air Force (United States)


  • Astronomy
  • Life Science
  • Surveillance and Other Military
  • Space Physics

Additional Information

Questions or comments about this spacecraft can be directed to: Coordinated Request and User Support Office.

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