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1962 'thing in the woods' was CIA spy camera

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BeastieRunner

Cameras and weather balloons, eh?

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flyingswan

Genetrix has been declassified for many years.  It was a forerunner to the Corona satellite cameras.

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RoofGardener

Umm... how was this EXPECTED to work ? I mean... you launch a weather balloon, and just HOPE it drifts over Russia ?

I assume the camera would have had somesort of clockwork timer to tell it when to take pictures ? But... how would the CIA know WHERE it was likely to be at any moment in time in order to pre-program the clockwork ?

And finally... how where they proposing to recover it afterwards ? I mean... it could have ended up almost ANYWHERE ?

Or was this just a prototype to test the camera out ?

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Rolci

what better way to spend taxpayers' money these days than "declassifying" documents that offer convenient explanations for unexplained stuff in the past. Guess they're going to declassify the Roswell weather balloons soon too, adding as an interesting feature the presence of dummies looking like alien bodies as in the testimonies. Phew, good thing that's not MY tax money.

Edited by Rolci
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flyingswan
5 hours ago, RoofGardener said:

Umm... how was this EXPECTED to work ? I mean... you launch a weather balloon, and just HOPE it drifts over Russia ?

They launched hundreds of them from several different sites to the west of the USSR, taking advantage of prevailing winds to take them across the target.  They got about 10% of them back, managed to photograph a lot of territory.

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badeskov
4 hours ago, Rolci said:

what better way to spend taxpayers' money these days than "declassifying" documents that offer convenient explanations for unexplained stuff in the past. Guess they're going to declassify the Roswell weather balloons soon too, adding as an interesting feature the presence of dummies looking like alien bodies as in the testimonies. Phew, good thing that's not MY tax money.

The weather balloons used at Roswell were never classified. The payload was, which is now long declassified.

Cheers,
Badeskov 

Edited by badeskov

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Obviousman

This gives some background:

http://stratocat.com.ar/stratopedia/28.htm

Quote

On regarding the primary mission, the total number of gondolas from which were obtained images were 40. The total number of usable exposures was 13,813 which covered 1,116,449 square miles of the USSR and China. As most part of the gondolas recovered were those launched from Turkey, the coverage was concentrated in Siberia and China, while a poor coverage was obtained of European Russia and Soviet Central Asia. The only finding of significance was the discovery of a vast nuclear refining facility at Dononovo in Siberia.

Despite this limitation, Genetrix images were some of the best and most complete photography obtained of the Soviet Union after the World War II and before the satellite era. It was referred to as "pioneer" photography because it provided a base-line for all future overhead photography. Even photos of common things as forests and streams proved valuable in later years when U-2 spy plane and satellite photography revealed construction activity in the same places. Also the accurate record of high-altitude wind currents derived from the tracking of the balloons, would help to determine optimum flight paths for U-2 overflights. 

Finally an unexpected development from Genetrix was derived from a fortuitous situation: a steel bar used for the rigging of the equipment on the gondolas had a length of 91 centimeters, which corresponded to the wavelength of the radio frequency of a S-band radar that the Soviet forces used for early warning and ground-controlled intercept, known by its NATO code name as "Token". The bar on the Genetrix balloons resonated when struck by Token radar pulses, facilitating the interception, but also providing to radar operators at US and NATO installations on the periphery of the Soviet Union the localization of a number of previously unknown Token sites. These radar findings, coupled with other intercepts made during the balloon flights, provided extensive data on Warsaw Pact radar networks, radar sets, and ground-controlled interception techniques.

 

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RoofGardener

That is a VERY interesting read; thank you for posting it Obviousman. :)

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third_eye

Ahhh ... such was the innocence of the times back then ... who would've suspected balloons for such nefarious purposes ...

~

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Bama13
On 7/28/2017 at 5:33 AM, third_eye said:

Ahhh ... such was the innocence of the times back then ... who would've suspected balloons for such nefarious purposes ...

~

Well the Japanese used balloons to bomb the US in WWII.

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