John Glenn carried out the first human-operated, astronomical experiment in space during his pioneering mission on February 20, 1962. On his first orbit, in darkness over the Pacific, Glenn took six ultraviolet spectrographic photos of stars in the constellation Orion with this camera. Equipped with a quartz lens and prism to form the star images into spectra, the camera imaged ultraviolet light that is blocked from view on Earth by the atmosphere.
For ease of use by Glenn, NASA technicians attached a pistol grip handle and trigger to this commercial 35-mm camera, which is upside down from its normal orientation. Because he could not, with his spacesuit visor down, put the regular viewfinder to his eye, technicians also affixed a reticle on the bottom (now the top) of the camera so that he could line it up on the stars.
NASA transferred this camera to the Smithsonian in 1963.
Transferred from NASA