Looking at Earth

May 8, 1986 – Permanent

National Air and Space Museum
Independence Avenue and 6th Street, SW
Washington, DC

1st Floor, East Wing, Looking at Earth, Gallery 110 Floor Plan

This gallery traces the development of technology for viewing Earth from balloons, aircraft, and spacecraft. The quest for ever-higher, ever-clearer images of the Earth is reflected in photographs and spacecraft images from a few feet to 7.5 million miles away. Some photographs are mural-size.

Highlights include:

  • de Havilland DH-4: an American World War I aircraft used extensively for mapping and surveying in the 1920s
  • Lockheed U-2C: key U.S. high-altitude reconnaissance jet developed in 1954-55 during the Cold War era, with flight suit and typical camera, dating from the 1950s to the present
  • Earth observation satellites: prototypes of TIROS, the world's first weather satellite, built in 1960; ITOS weather satellite (engineering test model), 1970s; GOES geostationary satellite (full-scale model), 1975 to the present; and models of other satellites
  • Landsat image of your state: interactive touchscreen display showing orbital views of the 50 states. Visitors to the gallery can also "punch in" an image of their hometown area as seen by a Landsat satellite