During the Cold War, the Hycon Model B panoramic camera, installed in the Lockheed U-2 reconnaissance aircraft, was an essential intelligence-gathering tool of the United States. In 1962, this particular Model B camera, now in the collection of the National Air and Space Museum, provided positive proof of the existence of Soviet missiles in Cuba, precipitating a crisis that led the world to the brink of nuclear war. A second Model B camera (A19820380001) is displayed directly beneath the Lockheed U-2 aircraft in the Looking at Earth gallery. The CIA transferred this B camera, along with light and elevating tables, to the Museum in 1977.
Image Number: WEB12614-2012
Credit: Image by Eric Long, National Air and Space Museum, Smithsonian Institution
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