Exploring space requires a whole lot of high-tech gear. But there’s something you’ll find on space missions that also connects all of us on DIYP: cameras. In this video, Scott Manley guides you through the history of cameras in space. From 1961 to the more recent years, these were the cameras astronauts used to capture iconic space photos.
Scott begins his story with American astronaut John H. Glenn, Jr. He took the first human-captured, still color photos of the Earth during his three-orbit mission on 20 February 1962. A year later, his Ansco Autoset camera became a part of the Smithsonian National and Air Space Museum. However, he wasn’t the first astronaut to carry the camera to space.
Note the word “stills” describing Glenn’s images. Soviet astronaut Gherman Titov flew abroad Vostok 2 on 6 August 1961. He was the first astronaut to carry the camera to space, and it was Konvas-Avtomat movie camera. He reportedly used it for ten minutes and had to guess the exposure because the exposure setting dial broke during the launch.
One of the most significant space camera brands is surely Hasselblad. Its cameras were on several space missions, including the iconic Apollo 11. And by the way, Apollo photographers were pretty awesome photographers in addition to having the most epic job in the world. Last year, Hasselblad marked the 50th anniversary of the moon landing with the special edition 907X camera.
In the 1980s, Nikon also became a part of the “space camera gang.” In fact, the modified Nikon F3 camera was available to buy a few years ago. In 2017, NASA ordered 53 unmodified Nikon D5 cameras, with the plan to modify some of them and send them to space. The same year, the first commercial 4K video from space was shot on a Sony Alpha a7S II.
Scott covers plenty more information and fun historic facts in his video in just 15 minutes. Of course, it wouldn’t be fair that I retell you all of it, right? I hope that the article got you interested and that you’ll take a 15-minute break today to watch this fun and educational video. It’s well worth it!