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Declassified Satellite Imagery - 3

      Missouri River, South Dakota July 22, 1982

The Keyhole (KH) satellite system KH-9 (Hexagon) operated between 1971 and 1984. The imagery generated are of historical interest and are expected to support current scientific research on climate change and related fields of inquiry. Almost all of the imagery from this camera was declassified in 2011 as a continuation of Executive Order 12951, the same order that declassified CORONA. A subset of this declassified data was transferred to the U.S. Geological Survey's Earth Resources Observation and Science (EROS) Center. Please check the coverage map in EarthExplorer to verify the extent of coverage for the subset of images available from EROS. The available images are primarily over the United States, Antarctica, and the Arctic Circle. The full collection of original film sources are maintained by the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA).

KH-9 acquired photographs of the Earth’s surface with a telescopic camera system and transported the exposed film through the use of recovery capsules. The capsules, or buckets, were de-orbited and retrieved by aircraft while the capsules parachuted to earth. The exposed film was developed and the images were analyzed for a range of military and mapping applications.

The KH-9 program was designed to support mapping requirements and exact positioning of geographical points for the military. The KH-9 panoramic cameras captured high resolution (2-4 feet) and moderate resolution (20-30 feet) terrain images. High resolution images were acquired on 6.5 inch wide variable length film. The moderate resolution terrain camera acquired images that were printed to 9 inch wide variable length film.

Digital Products – High Resolution Scanned Images $30.00 per scene

High performance photogrammetric film scanners are used to create digital products at 7-micron (3,600 dpi) or 14 micron (1,800 dpi) resolution for black-and-white (B/W) images. Color images are limited to 14 micron due to resulting file size. On-demand scanning is available for $30.00 per scene for the subset of duplicate film sources held in the USGS EROS archive.

Declass 3 Image Parameters

Film Size Micron Size B/W File Size Color File Size
6.5 inch x variable length 14 Micron (1,800 dpi) 188 MB (per file*) 565 MB (per file)
7 Micron (3,600 dpi) 725 MB (per file*) Not available
9 inch x variable length 14 Micron (1,800 dpi) 260 MB (per file*) 780 MB (per file)
7 Micron (3,600 dpi) 1GB (per file*) Not available

* USGS EROS scans products in overlapping sections and the number of files will vary based on the length of the image. The actual file size may fluctuate due to image data, surrounding metadata, and the addition of the USGS logo.

High Resolution Digital Products are of photogrammetric quality and files are stored in TIFF format. The scanning process does not apply geocorrections.

KH-9 missions

Name Block Mission # Launch
Date
NSSDC ID
NORAD#
Other
Name
Launch
Vehicle
Orbit Decay
Date
KH9-1 I 1201 1971 Jun 15 1971-056A05297 OPS 7809 Titan IIID 184.0 km × 300.0 km 1971 Aug 6
KH9-2 I 1202 1972 Jan 20 1972-002A05769 OPS 1737 Titan IIID 157.0 km × 331.0 km 1972 Feb 9
KH9-3 I 1203 1972 Jul 7 1972-052A06094 OPS 7293 Titan IIID 174.0 km × 251.0 km 1972 Sep 13
KH9-4 I 1204 1972 Oct 10 1972-079A06227 OPS 3814 Titan IIID 160.0 km × 281.0 km 1973 Jan 8
KH9-5 I 1205 1973 Mar 9 1973-014A06382 OPS 8410 Titan IIID 152.0 km × 270.0 km 1973 May 19
KH9-6 I 1206 1973 Jul 13 1973-046A06727 OPS 8261 Titan IIID 156.0 km × 269.0 km 1973 Oct 12
KH9-7 Il 1207 1973 Nov 10 1973-088A06928 OPS 6630 Titan IIID 159.0 km × 275.0 km 1974 Mar 3
KH9-8 Il 1208 1974 Apr 10 1974-020A07242 OPS 6245 Titan IIID 153.0 km × 285.0 km 1974 Jul 28
KH9-9 Il 1209 1974 Oct 29 1974-085A07495 OPS 7122 Titan IIID 162.0 km × 271.0 km 1974 Mar 9
KH9-10 Il 1210 1975 June 8 1975-051A07918 OPS 6381 Titan IIID 157.0 km × 234.0 km 1975 Nov 5
KH9-11 Il 1211 1975 Dec 4 1975-114A08467 OPS 4428 Titan IIID 157.0 km × 234.0 km 1976 Apr 1
KH9-12 Il 1212 1976 Jul 8 1976-065A09006 OPS 4699 Titan IIID 159.0 km × 242.0 km 1976 Dec 3
KH9-13 Ill 1213 1977 Jun 27 1977-056A10111 OPS 4800 Titan IIID 155.0 km × 239.0 km 1977 Dec 3
KH9-14 Ill 1214 1978 Mar 16 1978-029A10733 OPS 0460 Titan IIID 172.0 km × 218.0 km 1978 Sep 1
KH9-15 Ill 1215 1979 Mar 16 1979-025A11305 OPS 3854 Titan IIID 177.0 km × 256.0 km 1979 Sep 2
KH9-16 Ill 1216 1980 Jun 18 1980-052A11850 OPS 3123 Titan IIID 169.0 km × 265.0 km 1981 Mar 6
KH9-17 Ill 1217 1981 May 11 1982-041A13170 OPS 5642 Titan IIID 177.0 km × 262.0 km 1982 Dec 5
KH9-18 Ill 1218 1983 Jun 20 1983-060A14137 OPS 0721 Titan 34D 163.0 km × 224.0 km 1984 Mar 1
KH9-19 lV 1219 1984 Jun 25 1984-065A15063 USA 2 Titan 34D 170.0 km × 230.0 km 1984 Oct 18
KH9-20 lV 1220 1986 Apr 18 1986-F03 launch failed Titan 34D

Imagery acquired by the KH-9 mapping camera with a resolution of 20-30 feet were released as part of the Declassified Satellite Imagery 2 collection.

Coverage Maps

Coverage Maps indicating the availability of Declass 3 products are available for download.

Additional Information:

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Contact Information for User Assistance

U.S. Geological Survey (USGS)
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