August 19, 1960 – Corona Discoverer XIV reconnaisance camera recovered
The Corona Discoverer XIII satellite was successfully launched on August 10, 1960 without camera and film. Several days later, in secrecy, the Discoverer XIV was launched with camera and film. It was retrieved on August 19, 1960 with pictures captured of key military Soviet targets. The Discoverer XIV camera captured more pictures than 24 U-2 overflights taken between 1956-1960.
Retrieval of Discoverer XIV capsule.
“We’ve spent between $35 and $40 billion on space . . . but if nothing else had come from that program except the knowledge that we get from satellite photography, it would be worth ten times to us what the whole program has cost. Because tonight we know how many missiles the enemy has and, it turned out, our guesses were way off. We were doing things we didn’t need to do. We were building things we didn’t need to build. We were harboring fears we didn’t need to harbor
– President Lyndon B. Johnson, January 1967