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Somewhere in Ice Station Zebra is a subtle, suspenseful Cold War adventure struggling to find its way out. But this is a film in desperate need of an editor, with long, tedious gaps between story-advancing plot points. Act two deploys the team to the North Pole station, where the mysteries are finally solved, but somewhat clumsily. But overall this one was a dud for me, handicapped at every stage by poor pacing. A search of the area where the bucket came down found discolored water, possibly from a location dye marker, for about square feet, along with bubbles, but no debris.

Due to the parachute problems on the first two buckets and the loss of the third, satellite operators placed only 50 percent of the film onboard the fourth bucket to lessen its weight. On 16 July, that bucket entered the recovery zone and a C caught it in mid-air. While the parachute failures presented major concerns, the battery overheating, voltage anomalies, and other difficulties seemed easily corrected.

The imagery from the first. HEXAGON bucket alone covered more than two-thirds of all known Soviet missile sites, and a set of photographs taken on one pass over Albania permitted the identification, by class and weapon type, of that countrys entire inventory of aircraft and ships. These accomplishments, plus a 2. Well have to revamp our entire operation to handle the stuff. Planning the Salvage Operation Dr. Duckett, CIA deputy director for Science and Technology, soon authorized the Office of Special Projects, the Agency element responsible for reconnaissance satellites, to make informal inquiries with the Navy about the possibility of recovering the item from the ocean floor.


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The Navy operated three deepsea submersibles named Trieste from to Each vehicle, called a bathyscaphe, used a lighter-than-water gasoline-filled float to carry a pressure sphere in which the pilots would ride. Navy, gained international recognition when on 23 January it became the first piloted craft to reach the bottom of the Marianas Trench, the deepest part of the ocean. A third ver-. Although the Trieste II DSV-1 s maximum achieved depth was only 13, feet at the time of the CIA headquarters meeting, the Navy expected a planned test dive to 20, feet later that August to demonstrate no trouble in reaching the deeper depth.

Locating the impact point as accurately as possible was crucial. From that point, it was necessary to predict the sink rate and the affect of water currents on the sinking object, which depended on estimating the damaged buckets shape, its effective density, and velocity at point of impact. With a general search zone identified, the Navy would use NRO funds to hire a.

Figure 2: One of Perkin-Elmers proposed net salvage methods, which the Navy feared would stir up the ocean bottom. Credit: NRO. Fred N. Spiess connection provided the perfect cover: if uncleared crew or public asked, the recovered item was an MPL instrument. One key question remained, would the film still be useable? Surprisingly, an Eastman Kodak test immersing a 10,foot sample roll of film in simulated Pacific seawater at deep sea pressures for five days indicated that a considerable portion of the imagery might be recoverable if the salvage team could keep the film wet and away from light until processed.

The test found that initial exposure of the rolls edge to salt water caused the films emulsion gelatin to swell, effectively sealing the rolls center against further intrusion. To ensure security of the classified payload and keep sun-. They further planned to surface at night if possible to reduce the chances of exposure to light.

Eastman Kodak personnel would then tediously despool the film by hand at their Rochester processing facility. In a memo summarizing the 27 July meeting, Donald W. The third RV contained the most imagery of the four, he wrote; Further, this imagery was acquired on that part of the mission when the weather was particularly favorable, especially in Western Russia and Eastern Europe. The operation would provide experience in the event of other losses.

The major concluded, The potential gains from the recovery of RV-3 would far outweigh the moderate funding required. It is appropriate that an attempt be made. McLucas agreed. With the basic plan set, on 10 August he sent a memo to Robert A. Frosch, assistant secretary of the Navy for research and development, asking for help arranging the necessary Navy and Scripps support. The NRO Staff Majors points must have persuaded the DNRO who wrote, Recovery of the film would be most desirable since the imagery recorded was from a particularly productive portion of the mission.

Where Eagles Dare

Additional information as to the nature of the parachute failure might also be obtained. The USNS De Steiguer, a survey ship capable of towing a camera-equipped search fish at a depth of more than 20, feet, would be available to Dr. Spiess for a ten-day search to commence on about 1 October.

Froschs prediction about the accuracy of the reported impact point was prophetic as many groups had widely divergent views on its location. The Satellite Tracking Center had three points: an original point, a point later changed due to a calculating error, and a final point.

The drogue chutes location, which recovery aircraft determined based on the two- to three-mile accuracy of their Loran C navigation systems, showed another point. The main chute deployment point led to yet another spot. Calculations based on wind direction, ballistic trajectory, spacecraft ephemeris, as well as an independent government assessment, yielded different results. Based on these various inputs, the search team eventually defined a 1.

Molaskey, a PerkinElmer program manager responsible for devising a method to raise and transport the bucket from the Pacific to Eastman Kodaks film processing center, encountered problems owing to the sunken objects unknown condition. Initial plans called for attaching a hook with a cable to the bucket and hauling it to the surface, but. Molaskeys team considered several net options Figure 2 , but those too were inadvisable as discussions with the Navy found such a device would undoubtedly stir up sediment on the ocean floor to the extent that the operators visibility would be reduced essentially to zero for periods of up to an hour.

The shipping container designed to transport the salvaged item to Eastman Kodaks processing center Figure 5 had to be large enough to hold the hay hook, with the bucket inside, along with the canvas to protect it from uncleared personnel and sunlight. In addition, the container needed to be capable of being moved while full of water, filled from the top and drained from the bottom since Eastman Kodak planned to reuse the seawater during despooling , and have wheels for easy transport. It could be no bigger than 72 inches high, 65 inches wide, and 78 inches long to fit through a door at Eastman Kodak.

To prevent bacterial growth on the film, and with the inadvisability of using fungicides, the salvage team needed to maintain the container with bucket, hook, and canvas inside at a temperature of 40 oF or less for the journey to Eastman Kodak. Perkin-Elmer subcontracted with the Pennsylvania-based Container Research Corporation to build the shipping container, and it was on schedule for delivery to the Submarine Development Group I, the Navy unit directly responsible for the salvage operation, at San Diego, California, where crews readied the Trieste II DSV-1 and support ships.

Plans were also underway to procure a. This news gave one CIA officer reason to be optimistic when he reported on 14 September, The operation is proceeding smoothly and everyone connected with it is enthusiastic and feels that there is a reasonable chance of success. A flash flood in Glen Riddle, Pennsylvania, on 14 September left the Container Research Corporations engineering, purchasing, sales, and management offices in about six feet of water and a foot of silt. The HEXAGON container, on a higher level, escaped damage and its cover was located intact in the silt, but not before the raging waters had washed away the skids and all but at least one of the casters used to support the device.

On Perkin-Elmers direction, the Container Research Corporation shipped the undamaged components as scheduled. They arrived on time at the San Diego dock a few days later, and although somewhat marked up and scratched from the flood appeared sound. In addition to the shipping container, crews delivered the hay hook to the San Diego dock, security cleared the essential Scripps and Navy personnel, and the group settled on a plan to construct a wooden refrigerator to keep the bucket below 40 oF.

In the first test, on 20 September, the hook, suspended from a crane, successfully lifted a loaded gallon drum off a sandy beach from various positions nose down, on its side, etc. The lb hook was lb over specifications owing to the installation of counterbalance weights, but it initially appeared to operate well.

A closer. Molaskey nevertheless believed shortening the center rod on both sides by about three inches would easily correct the problem. At AM, the next day, Lt. Malcolm G. Two officers, Lt. Phil C. Stryker Jr. Richard Dick H. Taylor, would join Bartels in the threeperson craft. The Trieste II DSV-1 would carry an NRO-provided dummy bucket, tethered to its forward port skeg, 4, feet to the bottom to avoid searching for or possibly losing it.

The submersible would test the hooks opening and closing abilities, then back away 50 to yards to determine the sensitivity of the dummy buckets pinger and the receiving equipment onboard the Trieste II DSV If all went well, the submersible would recollect the dummy bucket, surface, and practice transfer operations to the White Sands. Once launched, the approximately ten hour-long pre-dive checkout procedure, which included loading about 67, gallons of aviation gasoline and 30 tons of steel shot ballast into the small craft, would occur.

Following the completion of pre-dive procedures, the first test dive commenced at PM on 29 September. Onboard the Trieste II DSV-1 , several sonar, television, camera, navigation, and electrical problems occurred almost immediately after submerging.

Ice Station Zebra - WikiVisually

Reaching the bottom, the manipulator arm had difficul-. The submersible had to rise off the bottom, dangling the object from its skeg to cause enough tension in the tether to cut it. A lack of depth perception out the viewport made maneuvering the hook over the bucket extremely difficult. Although they came close, the crew was unable to lower the hook over the object on this dive. During these maneuvers, the winch cable jumped the pulley and broke, dropping the hook.

Having lost pounds unexpectedly, the small submersible shot up feet before its crew could release enough gasoline to stop the ascent. Back on the bottom, the hook and dummy bucket were difficult to find; it took 45 minutes to find both. Unable to retrieve both objects in its mechanical arm, the Trieste II DSV-1 surfaced with the hook hanging straight down.

John Bradford Brad Mooney, representing Capt. Samuel R. Packer, commanding officer of Submarine Development Group I, strongly advocated the need to perfect a recovery technique with all due haste. During the course of the day, with the Trieste II DSV-1 still undertow to avoid the lengthy period needed to stow and relaunch the submersible, crews repaired the crafts electrical problems, recharged batteries, repositioned the winch line, replenished shot and gasoline, and completed other preparations for the next dive. The crew added black, whiteand eventually international orangestrips, to increase the hooks visibility, installed a plumb bob in the hooks center to aid in positioning it over the bucket, and again modified the mechanism to enlarge its opening span.

After completing these tasks, and testing the hooks expanded opening radius by lifting it with the White Sands crane, problems with the White Sands fresh water supply forced the IOU back to San Diego on 1 October. Figure 5: Early sketch of Perkin-Elmer designed shipping container intended to transport the salvaged bucket to Eastman Kodaks film processing center in Rochester, New York. This caused concern not only for the equipment problems, but because the De Steiguer was already transiting to the search zone. The Trieste II DSV1 did not locate the dummy bucket until the test third dive on 11 October, but with the submersibles power running dangerously low, and no time for additional test dives, Bartels, Stryker, and Taylor instead exercised the hook without actually maneuvering it over the dummy bucket.

That gave the men confidence they could collect the item given enough time. On 20 October, the De Steiguer reported it found the lost bucket and had photographed it with the camera on the search fish Figure 8. The eight-foot tall, by eightfoot wide, by eight-foot long contraption consisted of a three-quarter inch. An outside cooling unit blew air into the box through an opening behind the cooling coil. On 2 November, as the IOU approached the search zone, discussions among the crew discovered that the device could not cool 8, pounds of sea water to below 40 oF in the outside ambit of about 90 oF in bright sunlight.

The crew painted the units exterior white, constructed a duct to recirculate the cooled air, taped off all seams, and insulated the unit as much as possible in order to improve its cooling abilities. They then undertook the difficult task of placing the shipping container which when hanging from the ships crane, swung like a house wreckers ball in even the smallest rollsinside the cramped refrigerator box and filled it with seawater to start the cooling process. During this period, pieces of insulation fell into the shipping container, requiring the crew to overflow the container with water to remove the containments and send out calls to the contaminants mainland for more insulation.

File history

Since the refrigerator had cooled to only 56 oF on 3 November, the White Sands began making regular ice to place inside the makeshift refrigerator and called in additional airdrops of dry ice and insulation to cool the contraption. With the airdrops in progress during the early afternoon of 4 November, the White Sands headed for zero DOT, one of the transponders the De Steiguer placed to mark the sunken buckets location. The Apache, meanwhile, released additional DOTs. Hughes so loved this film, it aired on his Las Vegas station over times.

Ice Station Zebra by Alistair MacLean (1963)

Unique and innovative underwater camera equipment was developed for this movie by 2nd unit cameraman and cinematographer 'John M Stephens', a former U. Navy diver, who is billed in the credits for additional arctic photography. The camera system enabled the first ever filming of a continuous submarine dive and this technical innovation produced some outstanding photography for the picture.

In one scene Patrick McGoohan was supposed to dive into the flooded torpedo room of the nuclear sub to rescue a trapped naval officer. Being a strong swimmer, he insisted on doing the scene himself rather than use a stuntman. A change was made to the script so allowing Olympic swimming champion Murray Rose, who'd been cast in another role, to do the scene with him in case anything happened. It was only after the scene was completed that Rose revealed that whilst he and McGoohan were standing up to their necks in the rising water just before the cameras rolled, Pat had whispered to him "Now I've done it, my foot's stuck".

Rose dived down and freed his foot which had become wedged tight in the torpedo rack. Patrick McGoohan was in the midst filming his iconic TV series The Prisoner at the time he appeared in this movie. In order to allow him to take time off from his TV series, the episode, The Prisoner was inserted. Rock Hudson said this was his personal favourite film. Conducted in May and June of that year, the assignment purpose was to gather intelligence from an abandoned Soviet arctic research ice station.

Two agents parachuted from a B Flying Fortress and searched the facility and were collected three days later via the Fulton surface-to-air recovery system. Her hull number was repainted to This film was originally shown in Cinerama venues. In order to put it into these theatres, MGM pulled A Space Odyssey whilst it was still having a successful run. Charlton Heston was originally offered the role of Ferraday but turned it down, saying there was no characterization in the script.

Gregory Peck was then offered the part and early adverts in Variety magazine carried mention of Peck's casting, together with Laurence Harvey as Jones. The film's story has similarities with the real life events, reported in the media in April , of the Discoverer II experimental Corona satellite capsule that went missing and was recovered by Soviet intelligence agents after it crashed near Spitsbergen in the Arctic Ocean.

Spitsbergen is in Norway's Svalbard archipelago of islands which is where both Alistair MacLean 's novel and the film of Bear Island is set. Miniature footage and film sets from this picture were re-used in the tele-movie Assault on the Wayne which also co-starred two members of this movie's cast, Ron Masak and Lloyd Haynes. Only three women appear in the film: One is a barmaid at the far end of the bar when Rock Hudson receives a phone call; another is in one of the booths in the bar; the third is seen walking with a companion arm-in-arm outside the second pub Rock Hudson enters.

The word "Zebra" in the film and source novel's title is derivative of the letter "Z" in the phonetic alphabet of the Army and Navy. The word "Zebra" though is no longer used in the modern NATO phonetic alphabet for navigation and aviation, "Zebra" being replaced by the word "Zulu". Producer Martin Ransohoff bought the film rights to Alistair MacLean 's 'Ice Station Zebra' novel in , a year after the book had been first published. Ransohoff had intended to cash in on the earlier MacLean adaptation The Guns of Navarone and had originally cast two leads from that movie, David Niven and Gregory Peck.