Recovering a Secret Spy Satellite Capsule from Underwater Ice Station Zebra – 16,400 Feet below

Recovering a Secret Spy Satellite Capsule from Underwater Ice Station Zebra – 16,400 Feet below

Introduction

The Trieste II (DSV-1), the Navy’s most advanced deep sea submersible at the time, surfaced about 350 miles north of the Hawaiian Islands in the pre-dawn hours of 26 April 1972 after recovering a mysterious item. Publicly called a “data package,” the object was actually part of a U.S. spy satellite, codenamed HEXAGON. Before today’s digital technology, photoreconnaissance satellites used film, which returned to Earth in capsules ejected from the satellite. The capsules, called “buckets,” reentered Earth’s atmosphere and deployed a parachute to slow their descent. During the first HEXAGON mission in 1971, the parachute broke off causing the bucket to crash into the ocean. This release includes photos of the capsule on the ocean floor, pictures of the Trieste II (DSV-1), and an article recounting the deepest undersea salvage then attempted. We also linked to the Naval Undersea Museum, where the Trieste II (DSV-1) is on permanent display.

An Underwater Ice Station Zebra: Recovering a Secret Spy Satellite Capsule from Booklet cover of Underwater Ice Station Zebra16,400 Feet below the Pacific Ocean [36 Pages, 6.21mb]

Declassified CIA Documents

1971-07-10 – Cable 2969

1971-07-11 – Cable 2972

1971-07-11a – Cable 2987

1971-07-12 – Cable 1311

1971-07-27 – Cable 3260

1971-07-28 – RV-3 Recovery Planning Meeting

1971-08-04 – Cable 9097 Recovery of RV-3

1971-08-05 – Effect of Salt Water on Beryllium

1971-08-05a – Penetration of the RV into the Ocean Bottom

1971-08-10 – Deep Sea Recovery of Hexagon Reentry Vehicle

1971-08-13 – Cable 1527 RV-3 Impact Point

1971-08-18 – Deep Sea Recovery of Hexagon Reentry Vehicle

1971-08-23 – Cable 4960

1971-09-01 – Perkin-Elmer Proposal for Recovery of RV3 of SV-1

1971-09-08 – Cable 8164

1971-09-13 – Cable 3709

1971-09-14 – Status of Recovery Effort as of 14Sep71

1971-09-16 – Cable 2150

1971-09-17 – Cable 1223

1971-10-07 – Cable 2266

1971-10-28 – Cable 5446

1971-10-28a – Cable 2338

1971-11-18 – Cable 26767

1971-12-10 – 1201 RV-3 Recovery

1972-01-12 – Notes on Conversation of 11 Jan 72

1972-01-13 – Cable 8209

1972-01-31 – Trip Report Recovery of RV3

1972-02-02 – Prognosis for RV-3 Recovery Operations

1972-02-03 – Prognosis for RV-3 Recovery Operations

1972-02-14 – Status of RV-3 Recovery Operations

1972-03-15 – Recovery Operations RV-3 of SV-1

1972-03-29 – Recovery Operations RV-3 of SV-1

1972-04-20 – Cable 2193

1972-04-27 – Cable 1097

1972-05-02 – Cable 3009

1972-05-24 – Deep Sea Recovery of Hexagon Recovery Vehicle 1201-3 With Four Attachments

1972-07-28 – Report on the Analyses of Recovered 1201-3 Film Samples

 

Declassified NRO Documents

All NRO documents declassified on this subject [138 Pages, 5.97mb]

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