Corona Satellite Calibration Target

Visited 2017.11.12
Near Casa Grande, Arizona

Not too far from “The Domes” at Casa Grande, I took a little detour to stop at one of the remaining concrete crosses used to calibrate the CIA’s Corona spy satellites.

The first satellites of their kind, they were created and launched in secret, to conduct photo-reconnaisance on the Soviet Union in the 1960s. As part of the program, the crosses were installed in a 16 by 16 grid out in the middle of nowhere, so the satellites could use them to focus their cameras before going to work on America’s Cold War enemies.

An interesting side note about the satellites, is they actually had to drop the film back to Earth to recover the images they captured, catching the falling “film bucket” with a plane or pulling it from the ocean.

Corona: Declassified