Open Secrets

The National Reconnaissance Office will declassify two imagery satellites that operated from 1963 to 1984 during a ceremony Saturday at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum’s Udvar-Hazy Center at Dulles airport in Chantilly, Va. Both the Gambit, known as KH-7/8, and the Hexagon, designated KH-9, were film-delivery systems. The Hexagon is 60-feet long and 10-feet wide. “It was a remarkable piece of mechanical engineering, the way they put the thousands and thousands of feet of film inside that thing,” said NRO Director Bruce Carlson of Hexagon during a meeting with reporters Thursday in Washington, D.C. “It took more pictures on the first successful flight than they did on all the U-2 flights.” A clear plastic cover will allow museum visitors to view inside Hexagon, the once super secret intelligence satellite.