Let me quote from H G Plaster's original text:
" .......Sputniks 5 and 6, launched respectively on 19 August and 1 December 1960, both transmitted signals on 83 megacycles which were initially reported by field Elint operators and later confirmed through detailed analysis to be video transmissions. Soviet announcements that the dog passengers on these satellites were being watched while in orbit by means of a 'radio-television' system spurred on analytical efforts to demodulate this new type of signal, and before long CIA technical analysts did succeed in producing pictures from Sputnik 6's recorded signals. These substantiated the Soviet claim of having developed a special television transmission system which could provide instantaneous reporting on the behaviour of animal or human passengers aboard a Soviet spacecraft.
More important to intelligence in early 1961, however, was the establishement of a capability to determine as soon after launch as possible whether the Soviets had successfully orbited the first man in space, a feat they were expected to attempt at any moment. The National Security Agency undertook to design and produce special field collection equipment that would present oscilloscope pictures while the transmission was being received. Several such sets were produced on a priority basis, and the first two were sent to Elint sites in Alaska and Hawaii.
Demodulation of video transmission from Sputnik 9 (9 March 1961) and Sputnik 10 (25 March 1961) substantiated the Soviet announcement that each of these single-orbit flights carried a dog passenger. Then on 12 April 1961 Sputnik 11 was launched, and 83-megacycle transmissions were detected twenty minutes later as the spacecraft passed over Alaska. Only 58 minutes after launch NSA reported that real-time readout of signals clearly showed a man and showed him moving. This before Gagarin had completed his historic 108-minute flight, intelligence components had technical confirmation that a Soviet cosmonaut was in orbit and that he was alive." (see picture above right, gracefully provided by Dwayne Day).
SITE: Shemya (Lat:
|1961 Apr 12||06:26:00||60.28||156.51||200||Sun||1417||315.9||1.9|
|1961 Apr 12||06:27:00||57.97||162.80||203||Sun||977||315.1||7.8|
|1961 Apr 12||06:28:00||55.35||168.25||207||Sun||548||312.6||19.9|
|1961 Apr 12||06:29:00||52.51||172.96||211||Sun||224||275.9||69.9|
|1961 Apr 12||06:30:00||49.49||177.05||214||Sun||451||146.2||26.6|
|1961 Apr 12||06:31:00||46.33||-179.3||218||Sun||871||142.4||10.8|
|1961 Apr 12||06:32:00||43.06||-176.2||222||Sun||1309||141.4||4.0|
There is a U.S.Antarctic
station at a place called Palmer.
From a pure geographical point of view it is ideally placed! The ground
track of an object launched out of Baikonur into a 65o orbit
goes straight over the Palmer base. But, most probably the "58 minutes"
refer to when the report was received. Thus, either Shemya or Hawaii picked
up the signal that showed Gagarin in his capsule.
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