KH8/Gambit

(Selected)
KeyHole (KH) series
satellites

KH9/Hexagon
KH8/GambitKH9/Hexagon

This page contains (selected) philatelic information on KeyHole (KH) series satellites. Catalog numbers, years of issue, and notes on the satellites featured are given when available. If readers know of additional information or images, please contact the authors using the e-mail addresses at the bottom of this page.

The Discoverer-series, also known as Corona satellites, were later declassified as the first KeyHole (KH) reconnaissance satellites.

Launch information
(found elsewhere)
Launch covers
(including anniversary-of-launch covers, and launch-related event covers)
(farther below)
Other postal items
(stamps, souvenir sheets, aerogrammes, postal cards, etc.)
(immediately below)
KeyHole (KH) (USAF) KeyHole (KH) (USAF) KeyHole (KH) (USAF)


Below is a list of KeyHole (KH) series satellite postal items (stamps, souvenir sheets, aerogrammes, postal cards, etc.).

CountryCatalog NumberType of ItemYear of IssueNotes on Content
KeyHole (KH) (USAF)
No (non-launch cover) postal items found


Below is a list of (Selected) KeyHole (KH) series satellite launch covers (including anniversary-of-launch covers, and launch-related event covers).

CountryCancel DateCancel LocationType of ItemNotes on Content
(Selected) KeyHole (KH) (USAF)
1962-04-18: KH4-2
United States1962-04-17Vandenberg AFB, CA(Sarzin) cachet on coverKH4-2 launch ("classified secret satellite")
1962-04-28: KH4-3
United States1962-04-28Vandenberg AFB, CA(Goldcraft Cachets) cachet on coverKH4-3 launch
United States1962-04-28Vandenberg AFB, CA(Sarzin) cachet on coverKH4-3 launch (not "Discoverer" as in text)
United States1962-04-28Vandenberg AFB, CA(SpaceCraft Type-A general-purpose) cachet on coverKH4-3 launch
1962-05-15: KH5-5
United States1962-05-15Vandenberg AFB, CA(Goldcraft Cachets) cachet on coverKH5-5 launch
United States1962-05-15Vandenberg AFB, CA(SpaceCraft Type-A general-purpose) cachet on coverKH5-5 launch
1962-05-29: KH4-4
United States1962-05-29Vandenberg AFB, CA(SpaceCraft Type-A general-purpose) cachet on coverKH4-4 launch
1962-06-01: KH4-5 (and OSCAR-2)
United States1962-06-01Vandenberg AFB, CA(SpaceCraft Type-C general-purpose) cachet on coverKH4-5 launch
1962-08-01: KH4-10
United States1962-08-01Vandenberg AFB, CA(SpaceCraft Type-B general-purpose) cachet on coverKH4-10 launch
1962-09-01: KH5-6
United States1962-09-01Vandenberg AFB, CA(SpaceCraft Type-C general-purpose) cachet on coverKH5-6 launch
1962-09-17: KH4-12 (and US-ERS-2)
United States1962-09-17Vandenberg AFB, CA(Goldcraft Cachets) cachet on coverKH4-12 launch
United States1962-09-17Vandenberg AFB, CA(SpaceCraft Type-C general-purpose) cachet on coverKH4-12 launch
1962-09-29: KH4-13
United States1962-09-29Lompoc CA(SpaceCraft/Swanson) cachet on cover, also insertKH4-13 launch (Transit-2A depicted)
1962-11-05: KH4-14
United States1962-11-05Vandenberg AFB, CA(Goldcraft Cachets) cachet on coverKH4-14 launch
1963-04-26: KH5-8 [failed]
United States1963-04-26Vandenberg AFB, CA(Swanson/DuBeau? blue rubber-stamp) cachet on coverKH5-8 launch [failed]
1963-05-18: KH6-2
United States1963-05-18Vandenberg AFB, CA(Black printed) cachet on coverKH6-2 launch ("secret satellite")
1963-06-12: KH4-21
United States1963-06-12Vandenberg AFB, CA(Black printed) cachet on coverKH4-21 launch ("secret satellite")
1963-06-26: KH4-22 (and Hitchhiker-1)
United States1963-06-26Vandenberg AFB, CA(Rank velvet) cachet on coverKH4-22 launch ("Hitch-hiker" in text)
United States1963-06-26Vandenberg AFB, CA(Swanson/DuBeau blue rubber-stamp and typed) cachet on coverKH4-22 launch ("secret satellite")
United States1963-06-26Vandenberg AFB, CA(Sarzin) cachet on coverKH4-22 launch (not "Discoverer" as in text; "secret satellite")
1963-09-06: KH7-2
United States1963-09-06Vandenberg AFB, CA(Sarzin?) cachet on (airmail) coverKH7-2 launch ("spy in the sky satellite")
1963-11-27: KH4-25
United States1963-11-27Vandenberg AFB, CA(Sarzin) cachet on coverKH4-25 launch (not "Discoverer" as in text)
1963-12-21: KH4-26 (and P11-4101)
United States1963-12-21Vandenberg AFB, CA(Vandy?/DuBeau? magenta and blue rubber-stamp) cachet on coverKH4-26 launch
1964-02-25: KH7-5
United States1964-02-25Vandenberg AFB, CA(C. Swanson purple rubber-stamp) cachet on (airmail) coverKH7-5 launch
1965-04-29: KH4A-19
United States1965-04-29Vandenberg AFB, CA(Goldcraft) cachet on coverKH4A-19 launch ("secret satellite")
1965-05-18: KH4A-20
United States1965-05-18Vandenberg AFB, CA(Goldcraft Cachets) cachet on coverKH4A-20 launch ("secret satellite")
1966-07-29: KH8-1
United States1966-07-29Vandenberg AFB, CA(Swanson/DuBeau? blue rubber-stamp) cachet on coverKH8-1 launch ("secret satellite")
1966-08-09: KH4B-4
United States1966-08-09Vandenberg AFB, CA(Swanson blue rubber-stamp) cachet on coverKH4B-4 launch
1966-09-17: KH7-32 (and P11-4406)
United States1966-09-17Vandenberg AFB, CA(Swanson/DuBeau? blue rubber-stamp) cachet on coverKH7-32 launch ("secret satellite")
1967-06-16: KH4A-42 (and P11-4409)
United States1967-06-16Vandenberg AFB, CA(Swanson blue rubber-stamp) cachet on coverKH4A-42 launch ("secret payload")
1967-08-16: KH8-7
United States1967-08-16Vandenberg AFB, CA(Orbit Covers) cachet on coverKH8-7 launch ("secret satellite")
1967-12-05: KH8-10
United States1967-12-05Vandenberg AFB, CA(Swanson/DuBeau? purple rubber-stamp) cachet on (airmail) coverKH8-10 launch
1968-09-18: KH4A-48 (and P11-4413)
United States1968-09-19Cape Canaveral FL(Centennial) cachet on coverKH4A-48 launch ? [cachet and cancel dates are incorrect for LES-6 and OV2-5 and OV5-2/4 launches on 1968-09-26]
1969-03-19: KH4A-50 (and P11-4418)
United States1969-03-19Vandenberg AFB, CA(Swanson/DuBeau? blue rubber-stamp) cachet on coverKH4A-50 launch ("secret satellite")
1969-04-15: KH8-21
United States1969-04-15Vandenberg AFB, CA(DuBeau?/(Swanson blue rubber-stamp) cachet on coverKH8-21 launch (ESRO-2A1 depicted)
1969-05-01: KH4A-51 (and P11-4417)
United States1969-05-01Vandenberg AFB, CA(Swanson/DuBeau? blue rubber-stamp) cachet on coverKH4A-51 launch ("secret satellite")
1969-06-03: KH8-22
United States1969-06-03Vandenberg AFB, CA(Swanson blue rubber-stamp) cachet on coverKH8-22 launch ("secret satellite")
1969-10-24: KH8-24
United States1968-10-24Vandenberg AFB, CA(Swanson blue rubber-stamp) cachet on coverKH8-24 launch ("secret satellite")
1970-07-22: KH4B-11
United States1970-07-22Lompoc CA, Vandenberg AFB(Space Voyage) cachet on coverKH4B-11 launch
1970-08-18: KH8-28
United States1970-08-18Vandenberg AFB, CA(Swanson blue rubber-stamp) cachet on coverKH8-28 launch
1970-11-18: KH4B-12 (and P11-4423)
United States1970-11-18Vandenberg AFB, CA(Vandy?/DuBeau? blue rubber-stamp) cachet on coverKH4B-12 launch ("secret satellite")
1971-01-21: KH8-30
United States1971-01-21Lompoc CA, Vandenberg AFB(Space Voyage) cachet on coverKH8-30 launch (not "SAMOS-81" as in text)
1971-04-22: KH8-31
United States1971-04-22Lompoc CA, Vandenberg AFB(Space Voyage) cachet on coverKH8-31 launch (not "SAMOS-82" as in text)
1972-01-20: KH9-2 (and P11-4424)
United States1972-01-20Lompoc CA, Vandenberg AFB(Space Voyage) cachet on coverKH9-2 launch ("2nd Big Bird"2, not "SAMOS" as in text)
1972-03-17: KH8-34
United States1972-03-17Lompoc CA, Vandenberg AFB(DuBeau?/Swanson black rubber-stamp) cachet on coverKH8-34 launch (ESRO-2A1 depicted)
United States1972-03-17Lompoc CA, Vandenberg AFB(DuBeau?/Swanson black rubber-stamp) cachet on (airmail) coverKH8-34 launch (ESRO-2A1 depicted)
United States1972-03-17Vandenberg AFB, CA(DuBeau?/Swanson black rubber-stamp) cachet (same) on coverKH8-34 launch (ESRO-2A1 depicted)
1972-05-20: KH8-35 [failed]
United States1972-05-20Vandenberg AFB, CA(Vandy?/DuBeau? black rubber-stamp) cachet on coverKH8-35 launch [failed] ("secret satellite")
1972-05-25: KH4B-17
United States1972-05-25Vandenberg AFB, CA(Centennial) cachet on coverKH4B-17 launch ("secret satellite")
United States1972-05-25Vandenberg AFB, CA(Centennial) cachet (no rocket image) on coverKH4B-17 launch ("secret satellite")
United States1972-05-25Vandenberg AFB, CA(DuBeau?/(Swanson blue rubber-stamp) cachet on coverKH4B-17 launch (ESRO-2A1 depicted)
1972-07-07: KH9-3 (and P11-4425)
United States1972-07-07Vandenberg AFB, CA(Space Voyage) cachet on coverKH9-3 launch ("Big Bird-3"2 in text, "Project 467" in text, not "SAMOS-88" as in text)
United States1972-07-10Vandenberg AFB, CA(Swanson purple rubber-stamp) cachet on coverKH9-3 launch ("secret satellite")
United States1972-07-10Vandenberg AFB, CA(Swanson purple rubber-stamp) cachet on (airmail) coverKH9-3 launch ("secret satellite")
1972-09-01: KH8-36
United States1972-09-01Vandenberg AFB, CA(Space Voyage) cachet on coverKH8-36 launch (not "SAMOS-89" as in text)
United States1972-09-01Vandenberg AFB, CA(DuBeau?/(Swanson blue rubber-stamp) cachet on coverKH8-36 launch (ESRO-2A1 depicted)
United States1972-09-01Vandenberg AFB, CA(Centennial) cachet on coverKH8-36 launch ("secret satellite")
1972-10-10: KH9-4 (and P801-4)
United States1972-10-10Lompoc CA, Vandenberg AFB(Vandy printed/typed) cachet on coverKH9-4 launch ("secret satellite")
United States1972-10-10Vandenberg AFB, CA(Vandy printed/typed) cachet on (airmail) coverKH9-4 launch ("secret satellite")
1972-12-21: KH8-37
United States1972-12-21Cape Canaveral FL(Orbit Covers) cachet on coverKH8-37 launch ("spy in the sky" and "Satellite 647")
United States1972-12-21Vandenberg AFB, CA(Swanson black rubber-stamp) cachet on coverKH8-37 launch ("secret satellite")
1973-03-09: KH9-5
United States1973-03-09Vandenberg AFB, CA(Space Voyage) cachet on coverKH9-5 launch (not "SAMOS-92" as in text)
United States1973-03-09Vandenberg AFB, CA(InterSpace Cover) cachet on coverKH9-5 launch (not "SAMOS-92" as in text)
United States1973-03-09Vandenberg AFB, CA(Swanson/DuBeau? blue rubber-stamp) cachet on coverKH9-5 launch ("secret satellite")
1973-05-16: KH8-38
United States1973-05-16Vandenberg AFB, CA(Space Voyage) cachet on coverKH8-38 launch (not "SAMOS-93" as in text)
United States1973-05-16Lompoc CA, Vandenberg AFB(DuBeau?/Swanson black rubber-stamp) cachet on coverKH8-38 launch (ESRO-2A1 depicted)
United States1973-05-16Vandenberg AFB, CA(DuBeau?/Swanson black rubber-stamp) cachet on coverKH8-38 launch (ESRO-2A1 depicted)
1973-06-26: KH8-39 [failed]
United States1973-06-26Vandenberg AFB, CA(Swanson black rubber-stamp) cachet on coverKH8-39 launch [failed] ("secret satellite")
United States1973-06-26Vandenberg AFB, CA(Space Voyage) cachet on coverKH8-39 launch [failed] (not "SAMOS" as in text)
United States1973-06-26Vandenberg AFB, CA(InterSpace) cachet on coverKH8-39 launch [failed] (not "SAMOS" as in text)
1973-07-13: KH9-6
United States1973-07-13Vandenberg AFB, CA(DuBeau? black rubber-stamp) cachet on coverKH9-6 launch ("secret satellite")
United States1973-07-13Vandenberg AFB, CA(Space Voyage) cachet on coverKH9-6 launch ("Big Bird-6"2 in text, "Project 467" in text, not "SAMOS-94" as in text)
1974-02-13: KH8-41
United States1974-02-13Vandenberg AFB, CA(Space Voyage) cachet on coverKH8-41 launch (not "SAMOS-97" as in text)
United States1974-02-13Vandenberg AFB, CA(DuBeau? purple rubber-stamp) cachet on coverKH8-41 launch ("secret satellite")
1974-04-10: KH9-8 (and P11-4428 and IRCB)
United States1974-04-10Vandenberg AFB, CA(Space Voyage) cachet on coverKH9-8 launch ("Big Bird-8"2 in text, not "SAMOS-98" as in text)
United States1974-04-10Vandenberg AFB, CA(InterSpace Cover) cachet on coverKH9-8 launch ("Big Bird-8"2 in text, not "SAMOS-98" as in text)
United States1974-04-10Vandenberg AFB, CA(DuBeau? purple rubber-stamp) cachet on coverKH9-8 launch ("secret satellite")
1974-06-06: KH8-42
United States1974-06-06Vandenberg AFB, CA(DuBeau?/(Swanson blue rubber-stamp) cachet on coverKH8-42 launch (ESRO-2A1 depicted)
United States1974-06-06Vandenberg AFB, CA(Space Voyage) cachet on coverKH8-42 launch (not "SAMOS-99" as in text)
United States1974-06-06Vandenberg AFB, CA(InterSpace Cover) cachet on coverKH8-42 launch (not "SAMOS-99" as in text)
1974-08-14: KH8-43
United States1974-08-14Vandenberg AFB, CA(Space Voyage) cachet on coverKH8-43 launch (not "SAMOS-100" as in text)
United States1974-08-14Vandenberg AFB, CA(Swanson blue rubber-stamp) cachet on coverKH8-43 launch ("secret satellite")
1974-10-29: KH9-9 (and P11-4429 and S3-1)
United States1974-10-29Vandenberg AFB, CA(Space Voyage) cachet on coverKH9-9 launch ("Big Bird-9"2 in text, not "SAMOS-101" as in text)
United States1974-10-29Vandenberg AFB, CA(InterSpace Cover) cachet on coverKH9-9 launch ("Big Bird-9"2 in text, not "SAMOS-101" as in text)
United States1974-10-29Vandenberg AFB, CA(Swanson blue rubber-stamp) cachet on coverKH9-9 launch
1975-04-18: KH8-44
United States1975-04-18Vandenberg AFB, CA(Space Voyage) cachet on coverKH8-44 launch (not "SAMOS-102" as in text)
United States1975-04-18Talkeetna AK(Black printed) cachet on coverKH8-44 launch
1975-06-08: KH9-10 (and P226-1)
United States1975-06-08Vandenberg AFB, CA(Space Voyage) cachet on coverKH9-10 launch ("Big Bird-10"2 in text, not "SAMOS-103" as in text)
1975-10-09: KH8-45
United States1975-10-09Vandenberg AFB, CA(Space Voyage) cachet on coverKH8-45 launch (not "SAMOS-104" as in text)
1976-03-22: KH8-46
United States1976-03-22Vandenberg AFB, CA(Vandy?/DuBeau? blue rubber-stamp) cachet on coverKH8-46 launch (not "Defense Meteorological Satellite" as in text)
1976-09-15: KH8-47
United States1976-09-15Vandenberg AFB, CA(Vandy?/DuBeau? red rubber-stamp) cachet on (airmail) coverKH8-47 launch (ATS-6 depicted; "secret payload")
1976-12-19: KH11-1
United States1976-12-19Vandenberg AFB, CA(Space Voyage) cachet on coverKH11-1 launch ("Big Bird-13"2 in text, not "SAMOS-109" as in text)
1977-03-13: KH8-48
United States1977-03-13Vandenberg AFB, CA(Space Voyage) cachet on coverKH8-48 launch (not "SAMOS-110" as in text)
1977-06-27: KH9-13
United States1977-06-27Vandenberg AFB, CA(Space Voyage) cachet on coverKH9-13 launch ("Big Bird-14"2 in text, not "SAMOS-111" as in text)
United States1977-06-27Vandenberg AFB, CA(Vandy?/DuBeau? blue rubber-stamp) cachet on coverKH9-13 launch ("classified")
1977-09-23: KH8-49
United States1977-09-23Vandenberg AFB, CA(Space Voyage) cachet on coverKH8-49 launch (not "SAMOS-112" as in text)
United States1977-09-23Vandenberg AFB, CA(Vandy?/DuBeau? red rubber-stamp) cachet on coverKH8-49 launch ("unscheduled")
1978-03-16: KH9-14 (and P11-4432)
United States1978-03-16Vandenberg AFB, CA(Space Voyage) cachet on coverKH9-14 launch ("Big Bird-15"2 in text, not "SAMOS" as in text)
1978-06-14: KH11-2
United States1978-06-14Vandenberg AFB, CA(Space Voyage) cachet on coverKH11-2 launch ("Big Bird-16"2 in text)
United States1978-06-14Lompoc CA, Vandenberg AFB(Vandy?/DuBeau? black rubber-stamp) cachet on coverKH11-2 launch ("classified satellite")
1979-05-29: KH8-50
United States1979-05-28Vandenberg AFB, CA(Space Voyage) cachet on coverKH8-50 launch ("KH-11" in text, "Big Bird"2 in text, "Program 467")
United States1979-05-29Vandenberg AFB, CA(Vandy?/DuBeau? purple rubber-stamp) cachet on (airmail) coverKH8-50 launch ("classified satellite")
1980-02-07: KH11-3
United States1980-02-07Vandenberg AFB, CA(Space Voyage) cachet on coverKH11-3 launch ("reconnaissance satellite")
United States1980-02-07Lompoc CA, Vandenberg AFB(Vandy?/DuBeau? black rubber-stamp) cachet on coverKH11-3 launch ("classified satellite")
1985-08-28: KH11-7 [failed]
United States1985-08-28Lompoc CA, Vandenberg AFB(Boudwin? green and black rubber-stamp) cachet on (airmail) coverKH11-7 launch [failed]
2001-10-05: KH11-13 (NROL-14)
United States2001-10-05Vandenberg AFB, Lompoc CA(SCP) cachet on coverKH11-13 launch ("national security satellite")
2005-10-19: KH11-14 (NROL-20)
United States2005-10-19Vandenberg AFB, CA(SCP) cachet on coverKH11-14 launch
2011-01-20: KH11-15 (NROL-49)
United States2011-01-20Vandenberg AFB, CA(Lollini) cachet on coverKH11-15 launch
United States2011-01-20Vandenberg AFB, CA(Sarmiento) cachet on coverKH11-15 launch
2013-08-28: KH11-16 (NROL-65)
United States2013-08-28Vandenberg AFB, CA(Sarmiento) cachet on coverKH11-16 launch

1This Swanson blue rubber-stamp cachet has radial antennas like those on ESRO-2A.
2"Big Bird" was an unofficial name for the KH9/Hexagon series.


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