Corona discharges were observed on the Corona satellites which carried film cameras, negatively affecting the image quality.

Was it a coincidence that the name of this phenomenon is the same as the series of photography satellites where it used to occur?


2 Answers 2


It was a coincidence. The program was named Corona before the launch of the first satellite, so before the corona effect was ever seen on the recovered films.

Secret projects like the Corona program usually have a deliberately nondescriptive name. Apparently, the name Corona was derived from the typewriter company. The contemporary CIA project to replace the U-2 airplane was named Oxcart. In the UK, this practice was standardized as Rainbow codes, where two lists of random words were combined, leading to e.g. "Green cheese" (a missile with nuclear warhead).

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    $\begingroup$ So they did not name the discharge after the satellites, correct? $\endgroup$
    – Mark
    Oct 13, 2017 at 18:05
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    $\begingroup$ Corona discharge was known decades before the first satellites were in orbit, see en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corona_discharge en.wikipedia.org/wiki/St._Elmo%27s_fire $\endgroup$
    – Uwe
    Oct 13, 2017 at 19:39
  • $\begingroup$ I guess we're missing something along the lines "cornona (from the latin for crown) discharges" $\endgroup$
    – user20636
    Oct 13, 2017 at 22:00

Word "corona" evolved from Latin , which is same as Crown in English.

Even I can't give any reference, as far as I know corona discharge of Sun and spy satellite project both having common name 'corona' is not intentional. But both naming was targeted for meaning Crown.

Corona discharge is bearing this name for beautiful shining compare with crown.

Satellite project corona took name from model of typewriter sitting on desk during name selection. This project was considered as having greater power over something and naming it with something like crown seem well justified.

Two separate events, unique in own, crown reference is perfect and both have no relation in term of naming connection...


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