Project CORONA - A Tribute to my Father

Back in the late 1950’s, at the height of the Cold War, one of the first “black ops” was authorized by President Eisenhower to develop and launch a spy satellite to obtain direct evidence about whether the Soviet Union actually had the ICBM’s they claimed. The plan was to launch a satellite containing a camera, orbit over the Soviet Union, eject the film in a capsule, and recover the film for interpretation. Originally a joint CIA and DOD effort, a new agency was created, the National Reconnaissance Office, to both sponsor this effort and interpret the data. No one had launched anything into space and recovered it before so this team had serious challenges. The effort was undertaken with urgency which also added to the challenges.

My father, Robert Chamberlin, was tapped early on to design and shepherd the recovery vehicle. He worked for General Electric, the recovery subcontractor. He was the Chief Systems Engineer for the SRV and instrumental in the success of this mission.

Project CORONA was one of the most highly classified projects at the time. My father told me once that even knowing the name of the project was a breach of security if the person was not on the project. None of our family or friends knew exactly what he was working on. But for some reason he always knew when a satellite was going to pass over and took the family out to watch at night.

The project lasted into the 1970’s but was finally declassified in 1995. At that point all the living personnel were invited to a ceremony to honor the team for their effort. Among other things we watched a secret video that was recorded over the life of the project where several Secretaries of State, Directors of CIA, National Security Advisors, and Presidents who spoke directly to the camera and testified about the critical nature and value this project provided in keeping the world safe. Another much larger event was held at the National Air and Space museum with several thousand people in attendance from all agencies and companies involved. The museum has on display on the the actual recovery vehicle capsules.

The original recovery vehicle project manager, Ingard Clausen, spent many years after this contacting all the remaining project members he could find and asked them to tell the story of this project from each of their perspectives. He struggled to get this material pulled together in a book. I joined him in editing the material around 2005. We finally got the National Reconnaissance Office to accept the material and combined with other history they published the book. Chapter 15 is my father’s account.

Recently the NRO has made a PDF of the book available as a PDF file you can download from their web site. The URL is https://www.nro.gov/Portals/65/documents/history/csnr/corona/Intel_Revolution_Web.pdf

There is other fascinating material on the NRO site that is worth exploring. Just check https://www.nro.gov/

How should I go social?

With Cambridge Analytica's use/misuse of Facebook data being in the news, many people are considering an alternative to Facebook because they have lost faith in Facebook's ability to safeguard their data. So where are people moving to who want an alternative to Facebook?

The Vero service is one such alternative service and it has experienced a rapid growth in new membership. Vero does not include advertising in its business model and intends to charge a fee to its users - but has not done so yet. Vero had originally decided their first million users would be able to use the service for free for life but due to the recent wave of new users they have extended this offer indefinitely. I assume they want to benefit from the wave of disappointment in Facebook and are making it easy to transition.

So, should you switch to Vero? I say go for it and create a free Vero account while you can. If it ends up being the next Facebook you will have a free account for life. If it doesn't take off you can always cancel the account.

That's what I'm doing at least.

You need to use your smartphone to download the Vero app and follow the instructions for sign-ups. You end up giving your name, email address, and smartphone number. No muss, no fuss, just as it should be. So far so good.

Hey, Teach!

I'm putting my teacher hat on this Spring to help people understand technology better. Belfast Senior College has a very active community here in Belfast and I'm scheduled to teach "Understanding Technology Today" starting in March.

This is a course that fills in the gaps in people's educational background that make it hard to understand what's happening with technology. New tech has been developing so fast that many people are left feeling like idiots when faced with using new tech. This course will help explain what is going on in their devices and networks so they have a better conceptual grasp of it all.

Should be lots of fun!

Click Source link below to go to the Senior College site.