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KH-2 Corona

KH-2 3 [USAF]

The KH-2 (Keyhole-2) was second version in the Corona-program to build an optical reconnaissance satellite. These satellites were all launched under the name Discoverer.

The KH-2 payload consisted of the improved C' (Corona prime) single panoramic camera and a single General Electric return vehicle (SRV, Satellite Return Vehicle). The improved and simplified C'-camera was built by the Fairchild Camera Co. and with a f/5.0 aperture and 61 cm focal length had a ground resolution of 10.7 m.

The satellite was based on the larger Agena-B upper stage, which provided attitude control in orbit. The film return capsule carried its own small solid-fuel retro motor to deorbit at the end of the mission with mid-air recovery of the returning capsule by a specially equipped aircraft.

Ten KH-2 satellites were launched, of which four resulted in a successful return of film. Four missions failed to orbit.

Secondary Payloads

Some satellites carried secondary payloads mounted on the satellite:

  • Discoverer 16 (KH-2 1) carried the Soctop 3 (Aftrack 3) ELINT payload and the TOD 5 (Transit-on-Discovery) navigation payload
  • Discoverer 17 (KH-2 2) carried the Soctop 4 (Aftrack 4) ELINT payload and the TOD 6 (Transit-on-Discovery) navigation payload
  • Discoverer 18 (KH-2 3) carried the TOD 7 (Transit-on-Discovery) navigation payload
  • Discoverer 22 (KH-2 4) carried the Soctop 5 (Aftrack 5) ELINT payload
  • Discoverer 25 (KH-2 5) carried the Taki (1) (Aftrack 7) ELINT payload, the Soctop 6 (Aftrack 6) ELINT payload and the GRD Package (Module 101?)
  • Discoverer 26 (KH-2 6) carried the Wild Bill (Aftrack 9) ELINT payload to search for signals from the HEN HOUSE ABM/AES radar at Sary Shagan, the Soctop 7 (Aftrack 8) ELINT payload and the GRD Package/HSRP-2 (Module 102?)
  • Discoverer 28 (KH-2 7) carried the Taki (2) (Aftrack 11) ELINT payload and the Soctop 8 (Aftrack 10) ELINT payload
  • Discoverer 34 (KH-2 9) carried the Topsoc 4 (Aftrack 16) ELINT payload, the Vela Hotel Package 3 and a TR-17 type SECOR transponder.
Nation: USA
Type / Application: Reconnaissance, photo (film return type)
Operator: USAF
Contractors: Lockheed
Equipment: C'-Camera
Configuration: Agena-B, 1 SRV
Propulsion: Bell 8081, Star-12 retro motor
Power: Batteries
Satellite COSPAR Date LS Launch Vehicle Remarks
KH-2 1 (Corona 16, Discoverer 16) 1960-F15 26.10.1960 Va 75-3-4 F Thor-DM21 Agena-B
KH-2 2 (Corona 17, Discoverer 17) 1960 ο 12.11.1960 Va 75-3-5 Thor-DM21 Agena-B
KH-2 3 (Corona 18, Discoverer 18) 1960 σ 07.12.1960 Va 75-3-4 Thor-DM21 Agena-B
KH-2 4 (Corona 22, Discoverer 22) 1961-F02 30.03.1961 Va 75-3-4 F Thor-DM21 Agena-B
KH-2 5 (Corona 25, Discoverer 25) 1961 ξ 1 16.06.1961 Va 75-1-1 Thor-DM21 Agena-B
KH-2 6 (Corona 26, Discoverer 26) 1961 π 07.07.1961 Va 75-3-4 Thor-DM21 Agena-B
KH-2 7 (Corona 28, Discoverer 28) 1961-F08 04.08.1961 Va 75-1-1 F Thor-DM21 Agena-B
KH-2 8 (Corona 33, Discoverer 33) 1961-F10 23.10.1961 Va 75-3-5 F Thor-DM21 Agena-B
KH-2 9 (Corona 34, Discoverer 34) 1961 αε 1 05.11.1961 Va 75-1-1 Thor-DM21 Agena-B
KH-2 10 (Corona 35, Discoverer 35) 1961 αζ 1 15.11.1961 Va 75-3-4 Thor-DM21 Agena-B