1960 Photo Of U-2 Spy Plane With Phony NASA Markings For CIA Cover-up
This photo was taken at the NASA Flight Research Center at Edwards Air Force Base, California on 6 May 1960 as part of an elaborate effort by the CIA to cover-up the true nature of the U-2 spy plane program. On 1 May 1960 CIA pilot Francis Gary Powers was shot down over the Soviet Union during a spy flight. Cooperating with the CIA, NASA issued a press release with a cover story about a U-2 conducting weather research that may have strayed off course after the pilot "reported difficulties with his oxygen equipment." This photo shows a U-2 that was quickly painted in NASA markings, with a fictitious NASA serial number, and put on display for the news media at the Edwards NASA facility.
In reality, up to that time no U-2 was ever used by NASA. Unfortunately, Powers was captured by the Soviet Union and espionage equipment was recovered from the wreckage. Soviet Premier Nikita Khruschev exposed the cover-up and made much propaganda use of the American deception.
The upper section of this image is the black & white photo while the lower section has NASA logos in color and the wording: "Dryden Flight Center E-5442 Photographed 6MAY1960 / U-2 with fictitious NASA markings to support cover story for CIA / pilot Gary Powers, shot down over Soviet Union May 1 (NASA Photo)". In the photo, the sign on the building says "National Aeronautics and Space Administration Flight Research Center".