As an example of how important the Hexagon spy satellite imagery photos was to security, here is a photo of former President George Bush, Sr (on the left) when he was Director of the CIA briefing then President Ford (on the right) in 1974 about the middle east using a Hexagon reconnaissance photo. Previously President Nixon had signed the SALT Treaty (Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty) with the Soviet Union based on Hexagon's superb photography. Also, President Reagan was able to say during his presidency "Trust but Verify." Historians have identified the Hexagon program as the key to keeping peace in the world during the cold war by doing the verification.
While touring near the harbor in San Francisco I saw this statue in front of the Exploratorium Museum. It primarily contains an artist's version of hexagons and pentagons. Guess what it reminded me of?
Here is another issue of an old PE Heights Paper for your reading pleasure while I am away on a cruise.
I just found this floor plan in my filing cabinet. It is the original 1968 second floor office plan for Perkin-Elmer's 100 Wooster Heights, Danbury building where the Hexagon camera system was designed, built and tested. No windows except in the cafeteria. The first floor was not yet completed and its plan could not be made public because the two large thermal-vacuum chambers located in the high-bay area were considered classified information. The blank space in the upper-right of the plan was the high bay.
For many years on the Hexagon program I sat in the Design Engineering area at X marks the spot. I thought this would bring back memories. Do send me memories any of you have of those days.
John Rawlings was a clever British born mechanical engineer who worked on Hexagon in its early days. He loved to tinker and build models using his old European Mecano set, similar to the American Erector set.
One of the scale models he made was of the hexagon camera assembly rotating in its frame. The model was shown at various meetings. For fun John attached a coin slot to the model that required putting a quarter coin in it to turn it on. One tine he actually made Chester Nimitz, Jr. our CEO, to put a coin in so he could see it in motion.
John did well making his models, but he had less success with the Chinese Junk that he owned and sailed in Long Island Sound. I and several other engineers were invited one time to go for a sail on it. We were lucky as it performed ok during a two-hour sail. The next time John went out with some other PE staff, when they arrived at the dock the Junk was gone. It had sunk right at the pier. He apparently was not able to prevent a boat leak but he could build complicated models. His Chinese Junk is shown here with some lucky sailors.
Courtesy of Jon Aspinwall and his computer skills, he made up this nutty photo. I had nothing to do with it. Thanks Jon, you are also a Hexagon nut.