The National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) recently declassified two of America’s top satellite reconnaissance programs ─ GAMBIT (also known as KH-7 and KH-8) and HEXAGON (KH-9) ─ 25 years after their top secret Cold War-era missions ended. Rochester, N.Y.-based ITT Geospatial Systems, a division of ITT Corporation (NYSE: ITT), was a leading contributor to these once-secret programs.
ITT will host an event Friday, Sept. 30, not only to honor the Rochester men and women who worked on these programs, but also to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the NRO. For many of the ITT and legacy program alumni in attendance, this will be the first time they can fully disclose to family and friends the groundbreaking work they accomplished in their careers and their contributions to U.S. national security.
“ITT is holding this celebration to recognize the pioneers who worked on these top-secret programs,” said Chris Young, president of ITT Geospatial Systems. “Some of the most critical work in support of Cold War-era intelligence was performed by leading-edge scientists, engineers and manufacturing specialists in Rochester. ITT has been fortunate to build a thriving business upon such a talented industrial base, and this event is about celebrating the accomplishments of so many dedicated professionals.”
From Rochester, ITT Geospatial Systems (which includes the legacy government division of Eastman Kodak) designed and built the entire GAMBIT camera payload. Once the film buckets for both the GAMBIT and HEXAGON reconnaissance programs were ejected by the orbiting satellites and captured mid-air by planes after a controlled atmospheric re-entry, they were flown to Rochester for processing and initial exploitation. This part of the top-secret program was called BRIDGEHEAD, referring to the Hawkeye Plant (a current ITT facility) located next to the Driving Park Bridge in downtown Rochester.
“Twenty-five years after these programs’ missions ended, it’s exciting to finally share our work with our families and the public,” said Leslie Mitchell, retired program manager, GAMBIT, Eastman Kodak Research and Engineering. “These satellites featured some of the most advanced technology at the time, and it was an honor to serve with so many talented individuals.”
Headquartered in Rochester, N.Y., ITT Geospatial Systems (geospatial.itt.com) is a global supplier of innovative night vision, remote sensing and navigation solutions that provide sight and situational awareness at the space, airborne, ground and soldier levels. ITT Geospatial Systems solutions range from image and data capture to processing and dissemination. Key applications include image intensification and thermal imaging; advanced power supplies; multi-spectral image systems; weather and climate monitoring; space science; intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance; GPS-based positioning, navigation and timing systems; and image exploitation software. Using our technologies, customers can move beyond mere image acquisition to image interchange and true knowledge sharing.
About ITT Corporation
ITT Corporation (itt.com) is a high-technology engineering and manufacturing company operating on all seven continents in three vital markets: water and fluids management, global defense and security, and motion and flow control. With a heritage of innovation, ITT partners with its customers to deliver extraordinary solutions that create more livable environments, provide protection and safety and connect our world. Headquartered in White Plains, N.Y., the company generated 2010 revenue of $11 billion.
P: +1 914 641 2030 / E: thomas.scalera[.]itt.com.