The ship left Pearl Harbor in Hawaii for the Pacific crash site on November 21, 1971.
Prior to this mission, the Trieste II recovery vehicle had never gone below 10,000 feet underwater and the film was at more than 16,000 feet. It is conveyed in CIA documents that "the decision was made to attempt the deep sea recovery of the RV primarily for the intelligence value of the film record and secondly to establish a capability for deep oceanographic recovery."
Documents chronicling the recovery of the satellite film say "the reliability of the Trieste II was relatively poor. There was a major subsystem failure on each of the three dives."