THE FUTURE OF SPACE
nimble, capable of changing directions quickly and able to manage many efforts rather than just a few.”2 More successes were to come quickly. For example, ARPA was involved in the funding of CORONA, the world’s first photo-reconnaissance satellite, managed by the CIA and Air Force. Though riddled by a series of early failures, the ultimately successful sequence of spy flights helped America’s leadership understand that Soviet intercontinental missile capabilities were less extensive than feared. Because the CORONA satellites had a very narrow time window in which their high-resolution cameras would take images of strategic targets inside the Soviet Union – images that were recovered in the upper atmosphere by high-flying aircraft capturing parachuting payloads containing film canisters – planners needed to know in advance if cloud conditions
LEFT: Engineers prepare one of the Vela Hotel series of satellites, whose development was supervised by DARPA, for on-orbit nuclear test detection. BELOW: The Saturn I SA-4 flight launched from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in 1963. SA-4 was an uncrewed test flight of the Saturn I booster. The Saturn IB served as a test-bed rocket for the larger and more powerful Saturn V that would eventually carry the first humans to the moon.
DEFENSE ADVANCED RESEARCH PROJECTS AGENCY I 60 YEARS