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AFIO Presents: Bill Monroe on CORONA Satellite Project, Genesis of Governme...

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Basque Cultural Center

599 Railroad Avenue

South San Francisco, CA 94080

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Date: Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Location: Basque Cultural Center, South San Francisco, CA

Time: 11:30 AM no-host cocktails, Noon meeting and lunch

Speaker: Bill Monroe, former Lockheed LMSC group

Topic: CORONA Satellite Project: The Government-Private Sector Cooperation, the Military Value Discoveries, Where on Earth This Happened and the Impact on Silicon Valley

The CORONA reconnaissance satellites revolutionized the collection of intelligence in the 1960’s. The need for intelligence about Soviet strategic weapon systems and bases dramatically increased after 1 May 1960, when the Soviets shot down an American U-2 aircraft and captured its CIA pilot, Francis Gary Powers. Within a few months, however, on 18 August the United States launched its first successful reconnaissance satellite, which in one mission provided more photographic coverage of the Soviet Union than all previous U-2 missions. Fortunately, engineers and technicians at Lockheed’s new facilities in Palo Alto and Sunnyvale, and at other contractors across the US, had invented and produced this satellite, the launch vehicle, the camera, and the re-entry vehicle. Bill Monroe will be discussing the CORONA satellite project, the genesis of government-private sector cooperation and how this impacts Silicon Valley today.

Bill Monroe joined Lockheed’s LMSC group in 1958, directly after graduating from Cal in Mechanical Engineering. After a year’s seasoning in Polaris Mod and Checkout, he joined Orbit Thermodynamics, and became a “thermal guy”. He was a key contributor to overall thermal control design of the Agena D, and was cleared into the world of “Advanced Projects.” In 1966, he joined Itek Corporation and became their thermal engineer for the remainder of the Corona program. He continued to work closely with LMSC’s Advanced Projects people, but also with the camera builders, both customers, and his unsung heroes, the photo-interpreters. He attended the 1995 program declassification conference in Washington, DC, and collected a vast amounts of declassified materials, some of which form the basis for his talk. Mr. Monroe also applied his thermal/optical experience at Lockheed’s Skunk Works, helping improve optical window performances in the U-2 and SR-71, two wildly different thermal environments. He later joined Philco-Ford, which became Ford Aerospace and Loral. His “thermal guy” background also contributed to a 2-year assignment at Aerospatiale in Cannes, France, working on the development of INTELSAT-V communications satellites.

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Basque Cultural Center

599 Railroad Avenue

South San Francisco, CA 94080

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No Refunds

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