© National Reconnaissance Office


Corona was the first American reconnaissance satellite. The programme was a response to the Soviet Sputnik programme, and was specifically designed to take pictures of Soviet bloc countries. The images were captured on film that was transferred to a recovery vehicle which then left orbit and was picked up by a C-119 airplane while it floated down to earth suspended from a parachute.

The Corona photos were stereoscopic images with a resolution which at first was 8m, but later was increased to 2m.
The programme began on 12/8/1960 and ended on 31/5/1972. Since 1995 the images have been declassified and can be purchased.

Service life: 12/8/1960 - 31/5/1972 (KH1-KH6)
Resolution: initially 8m, later 2m

Acccess to data : U.S. Geological Survey

© National Reconnaissance Office