Golden Anniversary of Corona Imagery

Lockheed Martin on Wednesday issued a release marking the 50th anniversary of the first image from Corona, the nation’s first spy satellite. It was back on Aug. 18, 1960, when an Air Force C-119 aircraft recovered in midair a capsule jettisoned from a Corona satellite. That capsule contained imagery captured by the satellite’s camera. This first image came just about three months after a Soviet missile downed Francis Gary Powers’ U2 reconnaissance aircraft over the Soviet Union. Lockheed-built Corona satellites produced more than 800,000 images critical to national security during their 12 years of operations. The Clinton Administration declassified the Corona program in 1995. (For more on the history of Corona, see Corona Comes in From the Cold from the Air Force Magazine archives) (NRO’s Corona webpage)