The declassification of GAMBIT and HEXAGON was publicly announced on September 17, 2011. Two GAMBIT systems were developed for surveillance of specific targets. GAMBIT 1 initially launched in 1963 and was equipped with the KH-7 camera systems. GAMBIT 3 followed in 1966 and was equipped with the KH-8 camera system. The HEXAGON system was launched in 1971 and was developed for wide-area searches of denied territory. Together these satellites became America's eyes in space.
Additional Information can be found under NRO's FOIA: Declassified Records.
You may also view NRO GAMBIT and HEXAGON satellites at the National Museum of the United States Air Force Virtual Tour. Select the center dot (Cold War – 078) in the Cold War section of the map. GAMBIT 1 and GAMBIT 3 are to the left, HEXAGON to the right. Select each image for more information, or click on the links below:
Photos of GAMBIT and HEXAGON courtesy of the National Museum of the United States Air Force:
NRO Satellite Exhibit Opening
GAMBIT 1 KH-7
GAMBIT 3 KH-8
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