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Discoverer 9

NSSDCA ID: DISC9

Description

Discoverer 9 was a first generation, low resolution Air Force surveillance satellite launched from Vandenberg AFB aboard a Thor Agena-A rocket. The mission failed because the satellite never reached orbit.

The Discoverer program was managed by the Advanced Research Projects Agency of the Department of Defense and the U.S. Air Force. The primary goal of the program was to develop a film-return photographic surveillance satellite to assess how rapidly the Soviet Union was producing long-range bombers and ballistic missiles and where they were being deployed, and to take photos over the Sino-Soviet bloc to replace the the U2 spyplanes. It was part of the secret Corona program which was also used to produce maps and charts for the Department of Defense and other US government mapping programs. The goal of the program was not revealed to the public at the time, it was presented as a program to orbit large satellites to test satellite subsystems and investigate the communication and environmental aspects of placing humans in space, including carrying biological packages for return to Earth from orbit. In all, 38 Discoverer satellites were launched by February 1962, although the satellite reconnaissance program continued until 1972 as the Corona project. The program documents were declassified in 1995.

Alternate Names

  • KH-1 9006

Facts in Brief

Launch Date: 1960-02-04
Launch Vehicle: Thor-Agena
Launch Site: 

Funding Agency

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

Disciplines

  • Astronomy
  • Surveillance and Other Military

Additional Information

Questions or comments about this spacecraft can be directed to: Dr. David R. Williams.

 
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