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The Large Format Camera (LFC), the central component of the Orbiter Camera Payload System, was a film-based camera consisting of two conjoined components: the lens cone assembly and the film magazine assembly. Developed by Itek in the late 1970s for a NASA contract, the LFC was turned over to NASA circa 1980, where it was kept in storage until it was flown for its first, and only, flight on space shuttle mission SST-41G. Originally developed for use in high-altitude aircraft, the camera took its name from its large format film (23 x 46 cm). This film size, in combination with the camera's special optics, allowed the LFC to capture in a single frame more than 60,000 square kilometers (23,400 square miles) with enough resolution to distinguish buildings and roads. The images helped in creating precise, detailed maps and aided in geological analysis, environmental monitoring, and urban planning, for a range of governmental agencies and private companies interested in the LFC technology. However, while the experiment was considered a success, due to high shuttle transportation costs and the limited market for selling LFC products, NASA was not successful in engaging other agencies or private companies in paying the costs to use it on the shuttle.



Processing Information

Arranged, described, and encoded by [Archivist's name], YEAR.




Stennis Space Center, Gift, 2018, NASM.2018.0005


3.34 Cubic feet (5 containers)


This collection consists of material documenting the Large Format Camera program.


No restrictions on access


Collection descriptions

Archival materials

Technical reports

Arrangement note

No arrangement; foldered by type.

Scope and Contents

This collection consists of 3.3 cubic feet of material relating to the LFC program. The following types of material were included: manuals, reports, plans, memorandums, one audio cassette, maps, and three oversized prints from the LFC.


Technical reports


Material is subject to Smithsonian Terms of Use. Should you wish to use NASM material in any medium, please submit an Application for Permission to Reproduce NASM Material, available at Permissions Requests.

Topics Astronautics
Space photography
Technical manuals
Large Format Camera (LFC)


Large Format Camera (LFC) Collection, NASM.2018.0005, National Air and Space Museum, Smithsonian Institution.

Archival Repository

National Air and Space Museum Archives