First Photos of the Earth from Space


Filing Number: 162 - First Photos of the Earth from Space
Date Added: 2014-12-01
Created: 1946
Digital?: ✓
Lost & Found:
Tags: Space; V-2; Spaceflight; Photos; Video


From the article:

On October 24, 1946, not long after the end of World War II and years before the Sputnik satellite opened the space age, a group of soldiers and scientists in the New Mexico desert saw something new and wonderful—the first pictures of Earth as seen from space.

The grainy, black-and-white photos were taken from an altitude of 65 miles by a 35-millimeter motion picture camera riding on a V-2 missile launched from the White Sands Missile Range. Snapping a new frame every second and a half, the rocket-borne camera climbed straight up, then fell back to Earth minutes later, slamming into the ground at 500 feet per second. The camera itself was smashed, but the film, protected in a steel cassette, was unharmed.

Archive Notes

Digital Archive contains copies of the photos, a Universal newsreel from the time, and the 2006 article about the photos in a PDF printout.