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John Parangosky Dies; Helped Manage Spy Satellite System

Sunday, September 26, 2004; Page C11

John Parangosky, 84, a former CIA agent who helped manage the Corona Project, the nation's first photo reconnaissance satellite system, died of pneumonia Sept. 9 at Loudoun Hospital. A resident of Heritage Hall Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Leesburg, he had lived in the Washington area since 1948.

Mr. Parangosky was born in Shenandoah, Pa., and received a bachelor's degree in economics from Washington and Jefferson College in Pennsylvania in 1941. He attended the University of Pennsylvania and Columbia University School of Law in 1946 and 1947.

From 1941 to 1945, he served in the Army Air Forces; he was a first lieutenant.

He joined the Central Intelligence Agency in 1948, where his specialty was program management in areas involving high-performance operational systems for advanced aircraft and other technology, including the U-2 project.

He served as chief of the Corona Project office development staff, guiding the technical efforts of the contract team. Corona, a shared Defense Department-CIA effort that also involved the aerospace industry, existed from 1960 to 1972. During a series of 145 launches, Corona satellites photographed vast portions of the Earth's surface. The program was declassified in 1995.

From 1979 through the mid-1990s, he was a consultant to industry and government on similar reconnaissance programs.

In 1997, he was honored by the CIA as one of its 50 "Trailblazers." In 2000, the National Reconnaissance Office recognized him on its 40th anniversary as one of the 40 pioneers in national reconnaissance.

Mr. Parangosky's marriage to Renee Davis ended in divorce.

Survivors include three stepchildren, Tony Van Houten, Shelli Paul and Theresa Vaughan, all of Manassas; four step-grandchildren; and a sister, Helen Shock of Baltimore.

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