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A History of the Military Polar Orbiting Meteorological Satellite Program

Hall, R. Cargill

Published by National Reconnaissance Office, Office of the Historian, Washington DC, 2001
Condition: Very good Soft cover
From Ground Zero Books, Ltd. (Silver Spring, MD, U.S.A.)

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vi, 50 pages. Figures/Illustrations (some in color). Footnotes. Tables. References. Presentation card signed by Cargill Hall laid in. Cover has slight wear and soiling. R. Cargill Hall is Emeritus Chief Historian of the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO), an intelligence arm of the Department of Defense. Previously he served in various history positions for the Air Force History and Museums Program. Still earlier he served as historian at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. The National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) is a member of the United States Intelligence Community and an agency of the United States Department of Defense. NRO is considered, along with the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), National Security Agency (NSA), Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), and National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA), to be one of the "big five" U.S. intelligence agencies. It designs, builds, and operates the reconnaissance satellites of the United States government, and provides satellite intelligence to several government agencies, particularly signals intelligence (SIGINT) to the NSA, imagery intelligence (IMINT) to the NGA, and measurement and signature intelligence (MASINT) to the DIA. The Director of the NRO reports to both the Director of National Intelligence and the Secretary of Defense and serves as Assistant Secretary of the Air Force (Intelligence Space Technology). The NRO's federal workforce consists primarily of Air Force, CIA, NGA, NSA, and Navy personnel. In 1961, at the height of the Cold War, a director of the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) authorized the construction and launch of a small meteorological satellite to support CORONA and other film-limited imaging satellite systems. Though undertaken as an "interim" measure while awaiting completion and launch of a national weather satellite, in the months that followed the NRO spacecraft would incorporate so many desirable features and perform so admirably that it became the template adopted for all American civil and military low altitude meteorological satellites. I researched and wrote the first installment of this history, which covered these actions and events, using available classified records while assigned temporarily to NRO headquarters in the mid 1980s. After returning to the NRO as its historian in the late 1990s, and upon declassification of the original work and endnotes in February 2000, I shared it with the early program participants and completed the story through the turn of the Millennium and the consolidation of American military and civil meteorological satellite programs into a National Polar-orbiting Operational Environmental Satellite System (NPOESS). People act. They make decisions that trigger events. To the extent practical, this brief history turns on the people who shaped the story, particularly for the early NRO years when the effort was highly classified, handled in compartmented channels, and little known even to those who received and used the meteorological products. The people on which I focused in this story, the successive program directors and their immediate associates, brought to the meteorological satellite enterprise different technical skills and management approaches-all of them operating in a bureaucratic framework that changed with organizational realignments. Over the years, as the program moved from the NRO to the regular Air Force, and eventually to the Department of Commerce, they found themselves dealing with more federal regulations, more officials whose approval they required before choices and actions could be made or taken, and much more Congressional oversight. That they acted to identify and select the best outcome for this national effort I think goes without saying. That the choices made often produced outcomes that departed markedly from initial expectations is likewise apparent. Bookseller Inventory # 74144

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Bibliographic Details

Title: A History of the Military Polar Orbiting ...

Publisher: National Reconnaissance Office, Office of the Historian, Washington DC

Publication Date: 2001

Binding: Wraps

Book Condition: Very good

Edition: Presumed First Edition, First printing.

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