Collection Item Summary:
In the 1970s NASA inaugurated the Landsat series of satellites to study the Earth from space. The program demonstrated the practical benefits of research from satellites: for the first time the Earth's natural resources--land, water, and vegetation--could be mapped and studied continuously and on a global basis. Landsat 1 (originally called the Earth Resources Technology Satellite) was launched in 1972.
One of the main instruments used in studying the earth from space on Landsats 1, 2, and 3 was a Return Beam Vidicon (RBV) camera. Essentially a television camera, the RBV provided black and white images of the Earth and also was used to calibrate and intrepret images from a companion instrument on Landsat--a multi-spectral scanner (MSS).
The NASM artifact is a backup for the RBV that flew on Landsat 3, which was launched in 1978.