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Corona Film Return Capsule

This is a Corona film return capsule, also known as a "bucket". Corona spy satellites (launched on restartable Agena upper stages) would photograph militarily-interesting areas of the earth. Predating the days of high-resolution digital photography, the images would be recorded on film stored in spools in return capsules. Once the required images were acquired, the capsules would be ejected, reenter the Earth's atmosphere, and be snagged in mid-air by recovery aircraft.

This capsule is Smithsonian catalog #A19950118000.

 
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