NW036 1/144 Thor Agena A - Discoverer XIII LV
The Thor missile program was initiated in December 1954, when
USAF headquarters issued requirement for a tactical missile
intended to travel a distance of between 1 150 and 2 300 miles.
Thor was undertaken as a high-risk program having the goal of
achieving flight within the shortest possible time. The Thor had
its first complete launch pad test in January 1957 and a
full-range flight test in September 1957.
Thor-Agena was the booster for the Corona program, the USA's first spy satellite (also known as Discoverer). The spacecraft was launched into polar orbit to take photographs as it passed over the USSR. Corona returned its exposed films in reentry vehicle placed on the nose of the spacecraft. It reentered over the Pacific and has to be recovered by a passing aircraft.
Discoverer XIII was launched on August 10, 1960. The next day, the reentry sequence was signaled by radio command. Parachute emerged from the craft 10 miles over the Pacific. C-119 aircrafts arrived just in time to see it sink into a cloud deck. Several hours later the Navy had fished the satellite from the tropical waters. Discoverer XIII became the first satellite recovered from orbit.