RECONNAISSANCE

Satellites

Books

L - Q

Lewis, Jonathan E. Spy Capitalism: Itek and the CIA. New Haven, CT, and London: Yale University Press, 2002.

Day, IJI&C 16.1, finds that the author "definitely did his homework for this impressive book, a history of the creation of Itek, the company that built the cameras for the very successful CORONA reconnaissance satellite program during the 1960s.... Lewis approaches his subject both from a business and an intelligence perspective, a truly unique combination.... Spy Capitalism is a major addition to the literature on intelligence."

For Robarge, Studies 47.1, Lewis "writes in clear, although occasionally choppy, prose that is free from business jargon." Haines, Diplomatic History 28.3, points to the unique perspective presented in this work. The author examines the technological "revolution in intelligence and the liaison between corporate America and government from the view of a corporate player, Itek, and its management team.... [T]he best part of Lewis's book is his description of the struggle for control and contracts for the follow-on system to CORONA."

McDonald, Robert A., ed. Corona -- Between the Earth and the Sun: The First NRO Reconnaissance Eye in Space. Bethesda, MD: American Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing, 1997.

Richelson, IJI&C 11.4, finds that this book "is well-illustrated, both with respect to figures and photographs." While it "is an essential resource" for those conducting research on the history of CORONA, the book has some limitations. For example, the coverage of some topics is often "too short to adequately address the topic covered.... For many, some of the chapters ... will be simply too narrow or technical to be of much interest."

Norris, Pat. Spies in the Sky: Surveillance Satellites in War and Peace. Chichester, UK: Springer-Praxis, 2007.

From publisher: "Beginning with a discussion of Sputnik 1, and the impact of its launch, both on the Soviets and on the West, the book continues to show the social, economic and scientific benefits of satellites ... some 50 years later. The author introduces the concept of the Cold War nuclear stand off and mutually assured destruction and shows how spy satellites developed, and the problems of using them to verify arms limitation treaties. He identifies the significance of the ABM Treaty and of SALT and demonstrates how satellites were used to underpin such agreements."

Oder, Frederic C.E., James C. Fitzpatrick, and Paul E. Worthman. The Corona Story. Washington, DC: NRO, 1987.

Peebles, Curtis. The Corona Project: America's First Spy Satellites. Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press, 1997.

For Richelson, IJI&C 11.4, Peebles' book "is essentially a chronological narrative that begins in the 1940s, traces the development of strategic reconnaissance, and then provides a competent, integrated account of the various aspects of CORONA's history." There are also two chapters that "examine photographic interpretation and cover case studies of the exploitation of satellite imagery." Peebles also discusses some still-classified systems. On the downside, the book gives the impression of using only a limited range of research materials. Additionally, some readers "may find" some of the footnoting "misleading and annoying."

Brugioni, IJI&C 11.4, finds the appendices that list significant data on all of the 145 Corona flights to be particularly valuable. The reviewer concludes that "The Corona Project deserves an honored place among all that has been written about the art and science of reconnaissance and photo interpretation."

Although Bates, NIPQ 15.2, suggests that descriptions of every Corona flight "may get a little tedious," he concludes that this is a "well documented definitive history of an ultimately highly successful reconnaissance program, important to intelligence history." Dunar, Choice, May 1998, also is bothered by the "relentless recapitulation of successive flights," but adds that "Peebles rescues his narrative with anecdotes about recovery crews..., and about the dramatic work of photo interpretation specialists."

Eliason, Air Power, 27 Jul. 1999, comments that the author's "account gives the reader great insight into the long and difficult rise of our first space-based reconnaissance capabilities.... Peebles has woven together primary source documents recently declassified on Corona with first-person interviews and has then married this insider knowledge with leading historical texts on the early space period.... [The work] provides numerous examples of the impact that Corona photos had on our national decision making."

Peebles, Curtis. Guardians: Strategic Reconnaissance Satellites. Novato, CA: Presidio, 1987.

Perry, Robert L.

1. A History of Satellite Reconaissance. The Perry Gambit and Hexagon Histories. Chantilly, VA: Center for the Study of National Reconnaissance, NRO, 1973 (released Jan. 2012). [ http://www.nro.gov/foia/declass/GAMHEX/Perry_Gambit_Hexagon_History_single_pages.pdf]

From "Preface": "Perry wrote five volumes of history related to the National Reconnaissance Office. They include volumes on the NRO's involvement in the Samos and Corona Programs as well as histories of early national reconnaissance efforts. The former Office of History of the NRO released a redacted and edited version of Perry's history of early NRO management [see below].... When Perry prepared individual volumes on the Gambit and Hexagon programs, they constituted the third volume of his series. The volume was broken into Part A for Gambit and Part B for Hexagon.... Redacted versions of all volumes are available at NRO.gov."

2.. A History of Satellite Reconaissance. Volume 5: Management of the National Reconnaissance Program, 1960-1965. Washington, DC: NRO, 1969.

Cited in Richelson, The Wizards of Langley (2002), 313/fn.75.

Perry, Robert L. Origins of the USAF Space Program, 1945-1956. Washington, DC: U.S. Air Force Systems Command, 1962.

Pressel, Phil. Meeting the Challenge: The Hexgon KH-9 Reconnaissance Satellite. Reston, VA: American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2013.

According to Peake, Studies 58.3 (Sep. 2014), this work "tells the story of the HEXAGON's origins and development and provides details of the system's characteristics." It is a "most valuable contribution to the intelligence literature and a nice supplement to the material released in 2012" by the NRO.

Return to Satellites Table of Contents

Return to Main Table of Contents