BIS Prestige Lecture – The Bucket Brigade Comes To Town! (06 September 2018)

Speaker: Phil Presser
Date: 06 September 2018
Start Time: 6 pm
End Time: 9 pm
Venue: BIS, 27/29 South Lambeth Road, Vauxhall, London, SW8 1SZ

In January 1964 work began in top secret on what would emerge as the highly classified KH-9 photo-reconnaissance satellite. It took more than seven years to bring it to flight readiness but when launched on 15 June 1971 it was the biggest, most powerful and longest-lived spy satellite ever produced under the auspices of the National Reconnaissance Office.

At the invitation of SpaceFlight Editor David Baker, the chief designer for the Hexagon optical system for this outstanding technical achievement, Phil Presser is coming to the BIS on 6 September to give a talk about its origin, the technical challenges, what it did and how it did it. The last of the bucket-carrying wet-film spy satellites this 11.400 kg satellite was the biggest and heaviest of the “bucket” satellites which returned unprocessed images to Earth in re-entry vehicles.

The KH-9, known at the time as “Big Bird”, represented the peak of film-return capabilities and the series of 20 launches, the last on 18 April 1986, the only one in the series to fail in the fire of a launch vehicle malfunction, represented the peak of this technology which had begun with the Corona series and the Discoverer programme set up in the mid-1950s.

As a Prestige Lecture, the BIS will host a wine and cheese event at which David Baker will also sell copies of his book “US Spy Satellites” for those who don’t already have a copy. All proceeds go to the Society. Book now to ensure your place at this seminal event about one of the deepest and darkest secrets of the Cold War, told by the man who designed its optical system.

After Phil’s presentation there will be ample time for an extensive Q&A session with your chance to ask one of the most important people in the Hexagon programme anything you like. Remember, opportunities to question men like this are rarer than contact with Moonwalkers! Book early for this extremely rare chance to meet the man behind the KH-9 Hexagon spy satellite. Numbers are limited.

Doors open at 6 pm for drinks and canapes (included in the price) and the lecture starts at 7 pm, with a Q&A session at 8pm. Doors close at 9 pm.

Entrance fee Members ÂŁ10, Non-members ÂŁ20.

Pre-booking is essential as seating is limited, and early booking is advised.

To book your place click here.


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