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Cutler-Hammer AIL 1540 light table

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This object is on display in the James S. McDonnell Space Hangar at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center.


Manufacturer: Cutler Hammer

Country of Origin: United States

Dimensions: Other: 4ft 2in. x 5ft 2in. x 2ft 6in. (127 x 157.48 x 76.2cm)
152.4 x 101.6cm (5ft x 3ft 4in.) (Approximate, cover, laid flat)

Materials: Metal, plastic, and glass Cover: synthetic fabric

The U.S. intelligence community began using the AIL Information Systems 1540 Multi-Form light tables (MLT 1540s) in 1971 to analyze film returned from SR-71 Blackbirds, Corona satellites, and other photoreconnaissance vehicles. The MLT 1540 improved upon previous light tables. It had motorized features, could handle up to four film rolls of various widths, and enabled analysts to view two rolls stereoscopically. The MLT 1540 also accomodated improved optics, including the Bausch and Lomb Zoom 240 stereoscope displayed here. Despite the introduction of computerized systems in 1981 to process imagery returned digitally from photoreconnaissance satellites and aircraft, light tables such as this one are still used today with film imagery.

The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency transferred this to the Museum in 2004.

Transferred from the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency

Inventory number: A20050091000

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