July 2013

TPHS Meeting News July PDF

TPHS MeetingNews July 2013_img_0

Next Gathering:

Join TPHS members for our annual picnic on Saturday Aug. 3 from 14 p.m. (eat at 2 p.m.)

Dick and Joan Haviland have graciously agreed to host the picnic in their historic mill and charming back yard right next to the waterfall!

Bring a dish to pass. The Havilands will provide iced tea, lemonade, hamburgers/hot dogs, buns and condiments and homemade ice cream.

The address is 17 1/2 Ontario St. in Honeoye Falls. Please park on the street unless handicapped access is needed. Please RSVP to the Bloemendaal’s at 5852886359 or jbloem@rochester.rr.com

More news and reviews…

FALL MEETINGS: Save the dates for our fall meetings: Sept. 19, Oct. 17 and Nov. 21. We are already contacting great speakers. Thank you to Rolf Fricke and others who give us leads.

Sept. 19: Mike Champlin will speak on Kodakcolor (the 16 mm lenticular process). Mike is head of DeBergerac Productions, a video production company.

October 17: Tom Hope will speak. The tentative topic is “A Life in Photography from the 1937 Boy Scout Jamboree to the Lone Ranger to AudioVisual History.”

He put out the Hope Report on marketing research on the audiovisual industry from 1970 to 2002. He also was a motion picture cameraman in the Signal Corps in WWII, executive producer of the first Lone Ranger TV program, a consultant for the state department on the Marshall plan in France, an author, and a consultant for Kodak for 16 years.


Joy Parker, Mike Champlin’s wife, has amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (Lou Gehrig’s disease). Friends and neighbors held a huge garage sale to raising funds to make her home more accessible.

Our newest member is Sam Murfitt from Maine.


TPHS MeetingNews July 2013_img_1Mike Clayton was a systems engineer in the Research and Engineering organization in 1965. This part of Kodak was involved with the various classified satellite and airborne reconnaissance programs. Clayton’s initial work on the GAMBIT program concentrated on sending GAMBIT to the moon (also referred to as LMSS) to map the potential Apollo landing sites. At the same time, he supported the Kodak Lunar Orbiter project, conducted by NASA, which was sending a smaller system, basically a SAMOS, to map the entire lunar surface. His talk was fascinating, especially the Rochester connection. He talked of SAMOS, the first real time photoreconnaissance system (in 1961), as well as the GAMBIT I, Advanced GAMBIT, Bridgehead, Corona and Hexagon programs. There were 38 satellites launched, about one a month, during GAMBIT I. He continued on the GAMBIT program, working on the advanced GAMBIT. The GAMBIT Program took place from 19621985. The existence of the National Reconnaissance Office was highly classified in the beginning, and just recently declassified. The early film could be processed on land or in space. It was scanned and transmitted by SAMOS; in 1961 it was all analog. The US was surprised by the 1957 Sputnik, the first satellite ever. Kodak film was used on Gary Powers’ U2, shot down in 1962.

The US had no idea that it could be shot down at 70,000 feet. He had repeated a flight pattern, which made it easier for an antiaircraft missile.

TPHS MeetingNews July 2013_img_2SAMOS used onorbit processing and film scanning; Corona and Gambit used a film recovery system, with processing on the ground. An airplane caught the film, which had a parachute. If they missed, it did beep for a while to help in finding it. Then a plug opened in the canister and it sank to the bottom of the ocean. RCA and Kodak worked for Boeing on the Lunar Orbiter program. Five successful Lunar Orbiter missions mapped about 99% of the Lunar Surface. Gambit, Bridgehead (which also processed U2 flight film) were at Kodak. Corona was at ITEK, and Hexagon was at Perkin Elmer. Bridgehead processed film from all these programs. Gambit 3 (advanced GAMBIT) used 15,000 feet of film; Hexagon, up to 60 miles of film. All film was returned to the Hawkeye plant in Rochester. The programs used the old Brown Camera Co. part of Hawkeye, as well as some of the newer parts of the complex. The GAMBIT I program used the elevator shaft as a test tower for the optics. Some of the work was done at Lincoln Plant, part of which was the former Bourgeois Perfume factory. It was a Navyowned building, built during WWII, with 75foothigh ceilings. A large clean room was constructed in this part of the facility to handle final assembly of the advanced GAMBIT.

Problems overcome included film that dried and cracked; static electricity. “hot dogging” (thermal distortion of the lens). One of the solutions was Invar, a metal with very low coefficient of expansion. Estar (polyester) film base was developed by the Kodak Research Laboratories, and used, no acetate. The Hexagon unit was the size of a school bus. The Gambit was called “Sunset Strip” because it had a 77 inch focal length and the television program “77 Sunset Strip” was popular at the time.

Gambit III or Advanced Gambit could use several kinds of film. It was about four feet in diameter and 15 feet long. The lens had a 43.5inch aperture, 175inch focal length. The low expansion glass was made by Corning. Images could be viewed in stereo. Clayton feels that it was the best reconnaissance system ever built; the Russian systems were not as good. What was the cost? In today’s dollars the Gambit program was several billion. The Remote Sensing Systems division was transferred to ITT and spun off to Exelis, where it is known as the Geospatial Systems Division, headquartered in Rochester.

We thank Mike Clayton for speaking to us. He has done research on the internet, and to find more information he recommends this site: www.nro.gov.

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