This color educational film is about the DISCOVERER Satellites, also known as CORONA. It was produced by Lockheed Missiles & Space Division. (The first dozen or more CORONA satellites and their launches were cloaked with disinformation as being part of a space technology development program called the DISCOVERER program.) This film was produced in 1960. The Discoverer Satellite #13 was launched from Vandenberg AFB on August 10, 1960. The Discoverer Satellite #14 was launched eight days later.
Opening titles from Vandenberg AFB, title: DISCOVERER SATELLITE, ORBITAL RECOVERY (:10-:31). An Orbital rocket, the Discoverer Satellite #13 is getting ready to launch. The rocket is being worked on. Pieces of the satellite are being lowered and worked on. The rocket is being pieced together and filled with fuel. The payload is being placed on the rocket (:32-3:29). Booster, satellite and payload, after being put together is raised slowly from multiple angles. Control room engineer talks on a radio. Control room employees at work (3:30-5:00). Exterior of the US Air Force Satellite Test Center in Sunnyvale, CA. Men in the control room. A giant radar. Close on the radar. A ship with a telemetry receiver. In Alaska is a tracking station as is in Hawaii. Men on their radios in the control room. The countdown has begun. The Agena rocket is ready for liftoff. Fuel ignites and liftoff has occurred. The rocket sails high into the sky (5:01-7:34). Radar tracks the rocket. The separation occurs. The satellite is in orbit and it turns around. Satellite test center is analyzing and everything is proceeding as planned. Men plot on a board. Aerial recovery planes are at the ready. C-119 planes are ready for takeoff. The planes takes off. In the cockpit of the C-119. Satellite in orbit. The hurtling capsule is coming back to earth - we see this occur and the parachute deploy from the capsule's own camera (7:35-10:45). C-119 are ready to recover the capsule. The capsule floats in the sea. Helicopter hovers over the capsule as men jump into the sea to recover it. The helicopter brings up the capsule with a wire cord (10:46-11:56). The recovery team places the capsule into a special container. At the White House, in the past when the capsule was used and opened, an American flag was removed from it and handed to President Dwight "Ike" Eisenhower. Eight days later, the rocket was fired again, Discoverer #14. The rocket launches and heads for space. C-119 planes in the air. Aerial recovery was performed again successfully. The capsule was recovered with a wire (11:57-13:26). End credits (13:27-13:42).
The Corona program was a series of American strategic reconnaissance satellites produced and operated by the Central Intelligence Agency Directorate of Science & Technology with substantial assistance from the U.S. Air Force. The Corona satellites were used for photographic surveillance of the Soviet Union (USSR), the People's Republic of China, and other areas beginning in June 1959 and ending in May 1972. CORONA started under the name "DISCOVERER" as part of the WS-117L satellite reconnaissance and protection program of the US Air Force in 1956, based on recommendations and designs from the RAND Corporation. Corona satellites used special 70 millimeter film with a 24-inch (610 mm) focal length camera. Film was retrieved from orbit via a reentry capsule (nicknamed "film bucket"), designed by General Electric, which separated and fell to Earth. After reentry was over, the heat shield surrounding the vehicle was jettisoned at 60,000 feet (18 km) and parachutes deployed. The capsule was intended to be caught in mid-air by a passing airplane towing an airborne claw which would then winch it aboard, or it could land at sea. A salt plug in the base would dissolve after two days, allowing the capsule to sink if it was not picked up by the U.S. Navy. After Reuters reported on a reentry vehicle's accidental landing and discovery by Venezuelan farmers in 1964, capsules were no longer labeled "SECRET" but offered a reward in eight languages for their return to the United States. Beginning with flight #69, a two-capsule system was employed. This also allowed the satellite to go into passive (or "zombie") mode, shutting down for as many as 21 days before taking images again. Beginning in 1963, another improvement was "Lifeboat", a battery-powered system that allowed for ejection and recovery of the capsule in case power failed. The film was processed at Eastman Kodak's Hawkeye facility in Rochester, New York.
This film is part of the Periscope Film LLC archive, one of the largest historic military, transportation, and aviation stock footage collections in the USA. Entirely film backed, this material is available for licensing in 24p HD, 2k and 4k. For more information visit http://www.PeriscopeFilm.com