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KH-6 Lanyard

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BYEMAN codenamed LANYARD, the KH-6 was the unsuccessful first attempt to develop and deploy a very high-resolution optical reconnaissance satellite by the United States National Reconnaissance Office.[1] Launches and launch attempts spanned the period from March to July 1963. The project was quickly put together to get imagery of a site near Leningrad suspected of having anti-ballistic missiles. The satellite carried Itek's "E-5" camera developed for the SAMOS program, which had been cancelled. The camera had a focal length of 1.67 m (5 ft 6 in) and could discern objects on the ground 1.8 m (5 ft 11 in) in size. The ground swath of the camera was 14 km × 74 km (8.7 mi × 46.0 mi). The satellite weighed 1,500 kg (3,300 lb), and had a single re-entry vehicle in which exposed film was returned to earth for a mid-air[2] aircraft recovery. The KH-6 was manufactured by Lockheed Martin and launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base on Thor-Agena D launch vehicles.[3]

A KH-6 LANYARD main features.


(NSSDC ID: Number: See COSPAR)

KH-6 8001 was launched from Vandenberg AFB aboard a Thor-Agena D launch vehicle (Thor 360)[4] at 00:00:00 GMT. It was the first of three KH-6 LANYARD launches. This mission was a failure because the Agena guidance system failed.[5]

KH-6 8002 was launched from Vandenberg AFB aboard a Thor-Agena D rocket (Thor 364)[4] at 22:34:00 GMT. This was the second launch KH-6 LANYARD satellite. This spacecraft achieved orbit but the Agena rocket failed in flight and no film data were returned.[6]

KH-6 8003 was launched from Vandenberg AFB aboard a Thor-Agena D rocket (Thor 382)[4] at 00:00:00 GMT. This was the third and final KH-6 (LANYARD) mission that was designed to provide very high-resolution photos (61 cm), but the best resolution achieved was 183 cm, the same as KH-4B, so LANYARD was discontinued after this 3rd flight in 1963. The camera failed after 32 hours. The mission was deemed a success but the image quality was poor.[7]

The film canister contained over 2,250 feet of film with 910 photographic frames.[2]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "NRO review and redaction guide (2006 ed.)" (PDF). National Reconnaissance Office.
  2. ^ a b Federation of American Scientists FASorg: KH-6 Archived 21 October 2012 at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^ "KH-6 Lanyard". Gunter's Space Page. Retrieved 17 January 2024.
  4. ^ a b c "Thor Agena". Gunter's Space Page. Retrieved 17 January 2024.
  5. ^ "NASA".
  6. ^ "NASA".
  7. ^ "NASA".
  • Mark Wade (9 August 2003). KH-6 Encyclopedia Astronautica Accessed April 23, 2004

External links[edit]