Two Flown-in-Space IMAX Cameras Donated to the National Air and Space Museum

Press Release
Wednesday April 4, 2012
Media Only:
Isabel Lara 202-633-2374
Brian Mullen 202-633-2376
Public information: 202-633-1000

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Two IMAX cameras that flew aboard the space shuttle became part of the Smithsonian collection today. From 1984 to 1998, two-dimensional IMAX cameras accompanied astronauts on 17 space shuttle missions. These 70-mm large-format cameras, operated by astronauts, captured visually stunning views of Earth from space and offered an up-close look at what it is like to live and work in a weightless environment. 

“Receiving this donation of flown-in space cameras from IMAX brings a story from the museum’s history full circle.” said Jennifer Levasseur, museum specialist in the Division of Space History. “The museum partnered with IMAX and Lockheed Martin in 1983 to create early space films such as The Dream Is Alive to increase public understanding of spaceflight through large-format films. Now, the museum will preserve and soon display these cameras to educate and inspire future generations.”

Both of the cameras that captured breathtaking footage in space first flew aboard Space Shuttle Discovery. The in-cabin camera will go on display in the museum’s “Moving Beyond Earth” gallery this summer. The payload-bay IMAX camera may go on display at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in the future, alongside the Space Shuttle Discovery, which will be welcomed into the collection on April 19.

The National Air and Space Museum building on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., is located at Sixth Street and Independence Avenue S.W. The museum’s Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center is located in Chantilly, Va., near Washington Dulles International Airport. Both facilities are open daily from 10 a.m. until 5:30 p.m. (closed Dec. 25). Admission is free, but there is a $15 fee for parking at the Udvar-Hazy Center.

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