Camera, 35mm, Glenn, Friendship 7


Display Status:

This object is on display in the Apollo to the Moon exhibition at the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, DC.

Collection Item Summary:

With this camera, an Ansco Autoset 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.

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 Glenn was wearing a spacesuit helmet and could not get his eye close to a built-in viewfinder, NASA engineers attached a larger viewfinder 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.

Collection Item Long Description:

Data Source

National Air and Space Museum

Restrictions & Rights

Do not reproduce without permission from the Smithsonian Institution, National Air and Space Museum

Manufactured for



Credit Line

Transferred from NASA


Metal, glass, quartz, plastic, velcro


3-D (Overall): 13.5 × 7.5 × 24.5cm (5 5/16 × 2 15/16 × 9 5/8 in.)

Country of Origin

  • United States of America
  • Japan



Inventory Number