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Agena

NRO Historian's Note

History of Agena

Along with the release of signals collection documents, the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) is also releasing a lightly redacted multi-volume collection on the Agena control vehicle. The Agena was originally designed by Lockheed Corporation for use in the Weapons System 117L (WS-117L) program. Agena would go on to be used extensively for control and stabilization of national reconnaissance satellites including CORONA, GAMBIT, and the SAMOS related signals collection satellites. The NRO previously released the Agena volumes, but recent declassification decisions have permitted the NRO to reveal their contents almost in their entirety. In doing so, the documents further reveal the essential role that the Agena played in the success of the United States' pioneering national reconnaissance satellites.

James D. Outzen, Ph.D.
NRO Historian
Chief, Historical Documentation & Research
Center for the Study of National Reconnaissance

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