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Air & Space Museum to Recreate Genesis of the Spy Balloon

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In June 1861, Thaddeus Lowe flew 500 feet above the National Mall in a gas-filled balloon to show President Abraham Lincoln how balloons could be used to spy on the Confederates. Lowe's balloon, the Enterprise, remained tethered to the ground, and Lowe sent Lincoln the first telegram ever transmitted from the air.

Lowe's flight eventually led to the creation of the Union Balloon Corps and the start of aerial espionage in the United States.

On Saturday, the museum will inflate a balloon similar to Lowe's Enterprise. The museum won't let the balloon fly, but it will host re-enactors portraying Lowe and Lincoln, with presentations on Civil War ballooning.


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