Film take-up reel from Gambit KH-8 surveillance satellite, 1966-1984

1966-1984 in United States

Film take-up reel from Gambit KH-8 surveillance satellite, made by Kodak, United States, 1966-1984.

Gambit satellites were part of a series of satellites used by the United States government to take strategic reconnaissance photos during the Cold War. Like the earlier Corona program, all the satellite were numbered and named KH, which stood for Keyhole. The KH-8 satellites were in operation between 1966 and 1984. As well as photographs of enemy territory on Earth the Gambit KH-8 satellites were also able to take photos of objects in orbit, a capability which was originally developed in order to photograph Soviet satellites, but was first used to assist NASA engineers with designing repairs to the damaged Skylab space station in 1973. Two different sizes of photographic film could be wound up in the KH-8 take up reel which was then dropped back to Earth in a recovery capsule, to be developed and analysed.


Object Number:
artificial satellite - component
  • furnishing and equipment
  • vehicle - transportation
  • spacecraft
  • unmanned spacecraft
  • artificial satellite
Lent by the National Reconnaissance Office (Center for the Study of National Reconnaissance)