NRL's GRAB Satellite Displayed in Smithsonian Air and Space Museum


4/26/2005 - 21-05r
Contact: Public Affairs Office, (202) 767-2541


On March 18, 2005, the Smithsonian Institution placed the Naval Research Laboratory's GRAB satellite on display in its Air and Space Museum on the National Mall in Washington, DC. NRL developed and built GRAB, which stands for Galactic RAdiation and Background, a U.S. Navy electronic intelligence reconnaissance satellite system. The United States launched the initial GRAB system on June 22, 1960, as its first operational intelligence collection satellite. GRAB's mission was to gather information about Soviet air defense radars that could not be obtained by U.S. reconnaissance aircraft operating on the periphery of the Soviet Union and its Warsaw Pact allies. In June 1962, NRL officially, though secretly, transferred operational control of GRAB to the then recently established National Reconnaissance Office.

The GRAB exhibit is located just inside the Museum's main entrance, on the left. It is situated next to the display of Corona, the nation's, and world's, first imagery intelligence reconnaissance satellite, which had its first successful launch in August 1960. The GRAB spacecraft is mounted on a pedestal at floor height for close viewing, with storyboards explaining its intriguing place in the pantheon of military space history as America's first operational intelligence satellite system.

Links:

http://ncst-www.nrl.navy.mil/HomePage/GRAB/GRAB.html
NRL Press Release 41-98r

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The U.S. Naval Research Laboratory is the Navy's full-spectrum corporate laboratory, conducting a broadly based multidisciplinary program of scientific research and advanced technological development. The Laboratory, with a total complement of nearly 2,800 personnel, is located in southwest Washington, D.C., with other major sites at the Stennis Space Center, Miss., and Monterey, Calif. NRL has served the Navy and the nation for over 90 years and continues to meet the complex technological challenges of today's world. For more information, visit the NRL homepage or join the conversation on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.

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