Camera, Aerial, Duplex


Display Status:

This object is on display in the Boeing Aviation Hangar at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, VA.

Camera, Aerial, Duplex

Collection Item Summary:

The Duplex was used in a secret U.S. Air Force project, code named Genetrix, in early 1956. Under the guise of a meteorological experiment, the Air Force launched more than 500 balloons to float over the Soviet Union. Few provided useful photographs. Many were shot down or landed in Soviet bloc countries. The high-altitude Lockheed U-2 took over this type of reconnaissance later that year. The Duplex was developed by the Boston University Optical Research Lab. Its two 6-inch metrogon lenses produced an overlapping field of view.

Collection Item Long Description:

Inventory Number


Physical Description

9 x 9in.; format framing camera with a 127mm (5-inch) lens; black anodized aluminum; 2 film supplies, photo cell device to turn camera on and off; designed by Boston University Optical Research Lab.-buorl.

Credit Line

Gift of Itek Optical Systems

Country of Origin

United States of America




18 x 20 x 13 in. (45.7 x 50.8 x 33.0 cm)

Data Source

National Air and Space Museum

Restrictions & Rights

Do not reproduce without permission from the Smithsonian Institution, National Air and Space Museum