- Advocacy & Policy
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On September 20, AIA sponsored a National Aerospace Week event with the House Aerospace Caucus featuring Frank Calvelli, Principal Deputy Director of the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO).
Calvelli highlighted the important role NRO has played in the development of intelligence community capabilities and provided an overview of recently declassified national security space systems.
The aerospace industry has been a vital partner with the NRO since its beginning in 1961, Calvelli explained. Developed in collaboration with industry, the NRO’s CORONA satellite took the first images from space, concentrating on the denied territory of the Soviet bloc. As technology advanced and the demand for space imagery became increasingly critical to our nation’s security, the NRO pioneered the development of the higher-resolution HEXAGON and GAMBIT imagery satellites. The NRO also developed the capability for radar imagery from space with its experimental QUILL satellite. Calvelli noted past aerospace intelligence systems like the CORONA and QUILL helped avoid confrontation with the Soviet Union and win the Cold War. These satellites are a testament to the legacy of innovation shared by the NRO and its industry partners and have provided the foundation for the reconnaissance capabilities the NRO has today.
House Aerospace Caucus co-chairs, Representatives Pete Olson (R-Texas) and Jerry Costello (D-Ill.), introduced the program by recognizing NRO’s accomplishments and warning of sequestration’s potential negative impact on NRO’s ability to conduct its vital mission in the future.
AIA Source: kristen.moore[at]aia-aerospace.org