Corona KH-4B Camera

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    Corona KH-4B Camera

    2 optical lenses in black barrel-shaped housings; 2 film supply canisters at aft end; camera has cylindrical shape with film return bucket at front end; color; black and silver; metal stand painted cobalt blue.

    1 of 2

    Usage Conditions Apply

    There are restrictions for re-using this media. For more information, visit the Smithsonian's Terms of Use page.

    IIIF provides researchers rich metadata and image viewing options for comparison of works across cultural heritage collections. More - https://iiif.si.edu

    View Manifest

    View in Mirador Viewer

    Corona KH-4B Camera

    2 optical lenses in black barrel-shaped housings; 2 film supply canisters at aft end; camera has cylindrical shape with film return bucket at front end; color; black and silver; metal stand painted cobalt blue.

    2 of 2

Display Status:

This object is on display in the Space Race exhibition at the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, DC.

The KH-4B was the last and most advanced camera system used in Project Corona, America and the world's first photoreconnaissance satellite program. Between August 1960 and May 1972, when the program ended, 145 Corona satellites were launched and they produced over 800,000 usable images of the USSR and other nations. Film return capsules containing the exposed film separated from the spacecraft in orbit, reentered the atmosphere, and were retrieved in midair. The Itek-made KH-4B camera was used from 1967 until the end of the program and under ideal conditions produced a ground resolution of 6 feet. This artifact was reconstructed from spare parts and was transferred to NASM by the National Reconnaissance Office in 1995.