Codename HEXAGON: Inside the Secret Satellite Program with Phil Pressel

In Person Event

Rendezvous Info
Thursday, April 20, 2023
12:00 PM ET
Ticketing Info
Free! No Registration Required:

Imagine a vehicle orbiting the earth taking photographs. Now imagine two film reels, each holding 30 miles of film. Now imagine the exposed film being dropped in a container from 100 miles above the earth. Imagine a skilled pilot catching the container in mid-air with a net pulling it into a plane and returning it to earth for skilled analysis. Now imagine this happening over and over again. That’s the core of the HEXAGON satellite program.

Join us today in person, to hear about the US’s last film-based intelligence spy satellite program directly from Phil Pressel. Pressel was the project engineer in charge of the design of the formerly top-secret Hexagon KH-9 spy satellite’s stereo cameras. The Hexagon satellite was an invaluable asset providing photographic intelligence information during the Cold War. Pressel’s presentation will show photographs that the system took of some Russian military assets and of some cities. Hexagon was responsible for President Nixon signing the SALT treaty and allowing President Reagan to say, “trust but verify.” It was also one of America’s best and most successful spy satellites. Pressel’s book Meeting the Challenge, the Hexagon KH-9 Reconnaissance Satellite was published by the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) in 2013. The program was declassified in 2011 by the RO/CIA in 2011, which is why Pressel can talk about it.

After his talk, guests will have a chance to see the Museum’s own HEXAGON Take-Up Reel.