"So man has learned to shoot matter beyond the boundaries of his world," the video concludes poetically. "So man has learned to catch a falling star."

It would be decades before digital film took over, so dozens of this mid-air "dead drops" were made over the course of the Cold War. Of course, they weren't always successful—and the Air Force had backup protocols. If the buckets fell into the ocean, they could recover them there. And if they couldn't, a "salt plug" would slowly dissolve over several days—preventing the film from falling into the wrong hands. Who knows how much Cold War surveillance footage eventually made it to the ocean floor? [PetaPixel; YouTube]