Photography: Crew Support and CamerasEarth photography by shuttle astronauts is supported by the Space Shuttle Earth Observations Project (SSEOP), operating out of the Space and Life Sciences Directorate, Johnson Space Center, Houston, Texas. Project personnel coordinate crew training in the earth sciences, provide support during missions, and catalog and disseminate the photographic data.
During the mission, SSEOP personnel monitor geophysical events around the world, such as hurricanes/typhoons, floods, fires, active volcanoes, and oceanographic phenomena. When any such geophysical activity takes place within the flight envelope of the shuttle mission, requests for special observations are forwarded to the crew through Mission Control.
After the mission, the film is processed, annotated, and plotted. Information is distributed through a catalog, with the photographs described in terms of their geographic and physiographic characteristics and the camera, lens, and film combination.
Information on catalogs for each shuttle mission may be obtained by writing:
The primary camera used from the flight deck of the space shuttle is a NASA modifled Hasselblad 500 EL/M 70-mm camera, equipped with Zeiss 50-mm CF Distagon 4.0, 100-mm CF Planar 3.5, and 250-mm CF Sonnar 5.6 lenses. On some flights, when mission plans permit, an Aero Linhof Technika 45 camera is carried, equipped with interchangeable Linhof 90-mm Super Angulon 5.6 and 250-mmTeleArlon 5.6 lenses (51B-05-009). The basic film for both cameras is Kodak Ektachrome 64 Professional film 5017, 70-mm film for the Hasselblad, and five-inch-wide film for the Aero Linhof.
- Space Shuttle Earth Observations Project, Code SN4
Solar System Exploration Division
Space and Life Sciences Directorate
Johnson Space Center, Houston, Texas 77058
Since mid-1984, data-recording modules have been installed on the Hasselblad camera magazines to record date, Greenwich Mean Time, film roll and frame number, and shuttle mission number. The time recorded on each photograph (accurate to a tenth of a second) is used with the orbital mechanics data determined during the mission to compute the orbit, altitude, sun elevation and azimuth, and nadir position of the spacecraft. These data are available for each photograph and are listed in the catalogs for the respective shuttle missions.
In 1987, data-recording modules were acquired for the Aero Linhof camera and will be used on all future missions when that camera is carried aboard the shuttle.
51F-18-033, S07-06-0316, 51B-05-009
Above, left: Col. C. Gordon Fullerton, USAF, spacecraft commander, using gyro-stabilized binoculars to observe a "site of opportunity" during the 51F mission of the shuttle.
Above, right: Dr. Sally K. Ride, mission specialist, using the Hasselblad camera out the overhead window on the flight deck during shuttle mission STS-7.
Below: Col. Robert F. Overmyer, USMC, spacecraft commander, using the Aero Linhof camera during the Spacelab mission 51B.