Discoverer 18 was operated in a low Earth orbit, with a perigee of 272 kilometres (169 mi), an apogee of 535 kilometres (332 mi), 81.4 degrees of inclination, and a period of 92.6 minutes. The satellite had a mass of 1,240 kilograms (2,730 lb), and was equipped with a panoramic camera with a focal length of 61 centimetres (24 in), which had a maximum resolution of 7.6 metres (25 ft). Images were recorded onto 70-millimeter (2.8 in) film, and returned in a Satellite Recovery Vehicle, which was recovered three days after the launch. The Satellite Recovery Vehicle used by Discoverer 18 was SRV-508. Following the return of its images, Discoverer 18 remained in orbit until it decayed on 2 April 1961. It was the first KH-2 satellite to complete its mission successfully.
Payloads are separated by bullets ( · ), launches by pipes ( | ). Manned flights are indicated in bold text. Uncatalogued launch failures are listed in italics. Payloads deployed from other spacecraft are denoted in brackets.
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