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Corona: America's First Satellite Program
CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY WASHINGTON DC CENTER FOR STUDY OF INTELLIGENCE
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Since the CORONA satellite made its first successful flight in August 1960, the Intelligence Communitys overhead reconnaissance programs have been among the nations most closely guarded secrets. The end of the Cold War, however, has at last made it possible to declassify both information and imagery from the first American satellite systems of the 1960s. To do this, President William Clinton in February of this year ordered the declassification within 18 months of historical intelligence imagery from the early satellite systems known as the CORONA, ARGON, and LANYARD. Because the Presidents Executive Order 1295 1 see appendix envisions scientific and environmental uses for this satellite imagery, the declassified photographs will be transferred to the National Archives with a copy sent to the US Geological Survey. Vice President Albert Gore, who first urged the Intelligence Community to open up its early imagery for environmental studies, unveiled the first CORONA sateIlite photographs for the American press and public at CIA Headquarters on 24 February 1995. To mark this new initiative, CIAs Center for the Study of Intelligence and the Space Policy Institute at George Washington University are cosponsoring a conference, Piercing the Curtain CORONA and the Revolution in Intelligence, in Washington on 23-24 May 1995. On the occasion of this conference, the CIA History Staff is publishing this collection of newly declassified documents and imagery from the CORONA program. This is the fourth volume in the CIA Cold War Records Series, which began in 1992 when Director of Central Intelligence Robert Gates launched CIAs Openness Policy and reorganized the Center for the Study of Intelligence to include both the History Staff and a new Historical Review Group to declassify historically important CIA records.
APPROVED FOR PUBLIC RELEASE