With this camera, a Leica Ig model, astronaut John H. Glenn, Jr., took the first human-shot, color still photographs of the Earth during his three-orbit mission on February 20, 1962. (Soviet cosmonaut Gherman Titov had made pioneering movie footage during his one-day flight in August 1961.) Glenn's pictures paved the way for future Earth photography experiments on American human spaceflight missions.
Because Glenn was wearing a spacesuit helmet and could not get his eye close to a built-in viewfinder, NASA selected a this high-quality camera that allowed them to attach a customized sight on top. Glenn found the camera easy to use, in part because he could exploit zero-gravity's advantages. "When I needed both hands, I just let go of the camera and it floated there in front of me," he said in his later memoir.
NASA transferred this camera to the Smithsonian in 1963 with a group of Glenn artifacts.
Transferred from NASA