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Dye Marker, Reentry Capsule, Datasphere


Display Status:

This object is not on display at the National Air and Space Museum. It is either on loan or in storage.

Collection Item Summary:

This is the dye capsule used in the Datasphere, the first instrumented package to be recovered from space by the United States. Launched by a U.S. Air Force Thor ballistic missile on 13 June 1958 from Cape Canaveral, Florida, it recorded information such as temperatures, pressures, and stresses critical to progress in the nation's spaceflight programs. The Datasphere reached an altitude of over 200 miles, reentered the atmosphere at more than 10,000 miles an hour, and was recovered intact in the South Atlantic. Upon landing in the sea, the dye was released from this capsule making it easier for the recovery forces to locate the Datasphere. It is not known who made this capsule. The Air Force donated it to NASM in 1959.

Collection Item Long Description:

Data Source

National Air and Space Museum


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

Credit Line

Transferred from the United States Air Force.


Brass, unknown chemical dye, preservative coating (Cortec VCI-368)


Overall: 2 1/2in. x 5 1/4in. x 2in. (6.35 x 13.34 x 5.1cm)

Country of Origin

United States of America


SPACECRAFT-Unmanned-Instruments & Payloads

Inventory Number