Historical Stock Photos of Military and Research Balloons

Over the last week, a certain alleged spy balloon has been all over the news. The balloon's appearance over the United States sparked an international incident, and has dominated headlines. The balloon was even satirized on the popular show Saturday Night Live.

The balloon's appearance did something else: it made people aware of the existence of military balloons, as well as their civilian research equivalents. These high-flying airships may be unfamiliar to many people, but the reality is that high-altitude balloons have been in use for military and civilian purposes for over a century.

With all the buzz about the recent alleged balloon incident, it's the perfect time to educate your audience about the history of military and civilian balloons. At Gado Images, we've assembled a collection of our top historical stock photos of military and civilian balloons.

They run the gamut from stock photos of military balloons used during World War 1 and World War 2, to research balloons used for weather and other experiments. You can browse and license our full gallery on Getty Images.

Thomas Smith
Thomas Smith

Thomas Smith is a professional news, travel and food photographer, and CEO of the historical photo agency Gado Images. Smith's work routinely appears in publications including Time Magazine, People Magazine and Food + Wine, and Gado Images' historical photos appear in thousands of publications worldwide. The New York Times called Smith a "veteran programmer".

Historical Stock Photos
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