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Learn about Reconnaissance Satellite at National Museum of the U.S. Air Force

  • Published
  • By Ken LaRock
Visitors can learn about spy satellites during the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force Wings & Things Guest Lecture Series with a special presentation focusing on orbital reconnaissance, and in particular, the development and design of the Hexagon KH-9 satellite for the CIA.

Phil Pressel will present "The Hexagon KH-9 Reconnaissance Satellite" at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, April 29 in the museum's Carney Auditorium. He will discuss the last orbiting reconnaissance camera ("spy in the sky") that used film for photography and how it played an important part in U.S. intelligence and aerospace history. The Hexagon program ended in 1986 but was not declassified until September 2011. Pressel was the project engineer in charge of the design of the Hexagon KH-9 cameras, called the Optical Bars.

Pressel's talk will feature interesting anecdotes, personal stories and some technical details about this complex camera system that was capable of distinguishing objects two to three feet in size from an altitude of 100 miles above the earth. He'll also share some photographs the system took of Russian assets and describe how the incredible amount of film traveling at extreme speed was handled and synchronized with the moving image.

The museum has a KH-9 on display in its Cold War Gallery. More information about this satellite is available at

For more information or handicapped seating arrangements during the lecture, contact the museum's Special Events Division at (937) 255-1743. Filming or videotaping the lecture is prohibited.

The National Museum of the United States Air Force is located on Springfield Street, six miles northeast of downtown Dayton. It is open seven days a week from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (closed Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's Day). Admission and parking are free. For more information about the museum, visit

NOTE TO PUBLIC: For more information, please contact the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force at (937) 255-1743.

NOTE TO MEDIA: For more information, please contact Ken LaRock at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force Public Affairs Division at (937) 255-1238.