Reentry Capsule, Satellite, Discoverer XIII

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    Discoverer 13

    Gold-colored capsule has several small dents in skin; inside of capsule is silver; instrumentation inside is mostly black or green; wiring inside is mostly black

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    Discoverer XIII Satellite Reentry Capsule

    This is the Discoverer XIII reentry capsule which, along with the capsule cover and parachute, was recovered north of Hawaii by the U.S. Navy on August 11, 1960, the first man-made object to be recovered from orbit.

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    Discoverer XIII on Platform

    This reentry capsule, along with the capsule cover and parachute, was recovered north of Hawaii by the U.S. Navy on August 11, 1960.

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    Discoverer XIII

    Discoverer XIII was the first man-made object to be recovered from orbit. It was used for photoreconnaissance.

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Display Status:

This object is on display in the Boeing Milestones of Flight Hall exhibition at the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, DC.

This is the Discoverer XIII reentry capsule which, along with the capsule cover and parachute, was recovered north of Hawaii by the U.S. Navy on August 11, 1960, the first man-made object to be recovered from orbit. The Discoverer XIII satellite had been launched the previous day from Vandenberg AFB. "Discoverer" was the cover name for the highly classified U.S. Air Force/Central Intelligence Agency Corona photoreconnaissance satellite program. The Discoverer XIII satellite did not carry cameras or film, and the capsule contained only diagnostic instruments. Corona satellites, however, carried cameras and film beginning with Discoverer XIV one week later. By the end of the Corona program in May 1972, over 120 Corona satellites had successfully flown and photographed the Soviet Union, China, and other nations. The capsule was made by General Electric and donated by the U.S. Air Force to NASM in 1960.