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:

Film return capsules of this type were used to retrieve photographs taken of intelligence targets on Earth from the formerly secret Corona program's photoreconnaissance satellites. Made by General Electric, Corona film "buckets" returned more than 800,000 images taken by the KH-series cameras between August 1960 and May 1972, when the program ended. The capsules separated from the spacecraft in orbit, reentered the atmosphere, and after jettisoning a heat shield deployed a parachute that was caught in midair by U.S. Air Force planes. This capsule was transferred to NASM by the National Reconnaissance Office in 1995.

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


General Electric Co.

Credit Line

Transferred from the National Reconnaissance Office.


Metal, Polyester Film


Overall: 2 ft. 2 in. tall x 2 ft. 6 in. wide x 2 ft. 6 in. deep (66 x 76.2 x 76.2cm)

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National Air and Space Museum Collection

Country of Origin

United States of America


SPACECRAFT-Unmanned-Instruments & Payloads

Inventory Number