CableLabs® Founder Honored By Air Force Space Command
Louisville, Colorado, September 11, 2006—CableLabs® founder Richard S. Leghorn was among six trailblazing pioneers who were inducted recently into the Air Force Space and Missile Pioneers Hall of Fame for their significant accomplishments in the advancement of space and missile programs of the Air Force.
Leghorn, a retired Colonel of the USAF Reserve, led development of early Cold War airborne and space-based reconnaissance systems. He joined the Army Air Corps six months before Pearl Harbor, serving as a reconnaissance group commander in Europe through V-E Day and participating in the two atomic bomb tests at Bikini in 1946. Shortly thereafter, as part of efforts to overcome the Iron Curtain, he proposed a high-altitude reconnaissance aircraft, later the U-2 spy plane, to overfly the Soviet Union.
Recalled to active duty in 1951, he organized the Reconnaissance Systems Branch at Wright Air Development Center, Ohio, before transferring to the R&D planning staff at the Pentagon. Six years before Sputnik, he collaborated with the RAND Corporation in studies of a reconnaissance version of their “Earth orbiting vehicle.” Again returning to civilian life, he organized a new company, with Rockefeller support, to develop and build the photographic system of the CIA-Air Force Corona satellite.
After photographing more of the Soviet Union than all missions of the U-2, the Corona satellite, in 1960 for the first time in space history, returned its payload (film) to Earth. Until recently the Corona program has been highly classified and the revolutionary contributions of the technical pioneers, including Leghorn, are only now being recognized publicly.
Leghorn became a cable operator and a major participant in cable's first fight against must-carry regulations and lobbied the industry to establish a research and development laboratory. He funded a significant study by RAND Corporation that led to the structuring and establishment of CableLabs in 1988. Leghorn is a Director Emeritus on the 28-member CableLabs Board of Directors.
About CableLabs: Cable Television Laboratories (www.cablelabs.com) was founded in 1988 by members of the cable television industry. A non-profit research and development consortium, CableLabs delivers innovations that enable cable operators to be the providers of choice in their markets. Cable operators from around the world are members. CableLabs maintains additional web sites at www.cablenet.org.
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