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Dublin: 10°C Monday 21 June 2021

Life in space - through the astronauts' eyes

What was life like on an early NASA space mission? We look at archive photos taken by the crew themselves to find out.

Showering on board
Showering on board
Image: Nasa

WITH THE SAD death of Neil Armstrong last week, we were reminded once more of the incredible things NASA and its astronauts have achieved since it was founded 54 years ago.

Here’s a look through the NASA image archives at some early photographs taken by the astronauts themselves as they took part in missions where humans had never gone before.

Some of the first photographs taken by astronauts in space were snapped by astronauts like John H Glenn Jr, who brought his camera with him for the first time on Friendship 7.

Since then, as the New York Times outlines, photography has become so important to NASA’s astronauts that they even have to take part in photography lessons.

According to NASA:

Crew members in space have taken nearly 750,000 photographs with Hasselblad, Linhof, Rolleiflex, and Nikon hand-held film cameras.  Beginning in 1995, digital cameras were introduced on Shuttle missions.  Today on the International Space Station all Crew Earth Observations (CEO) imagery is taken with a digital camera

Here’s a glimpse at life in zero gravity in the 1980s:


The off-the-cuff photos they snapped in the early days in particular give a candid look at what everyday life was like for them in space – here’s a selection of them:

Life in space - through the astronauts' eyes
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  • Sleep restraints

  • Treadmill

  • Gemini 9A

  • Historic handshake

  • Astronaut Mark Lee, tetherless and free

  • Asleep

  • The late Sally Ride on the Flight Deck

  • Showering on Skylab

  • Buzz Aldrin on the moon

  • Ed White performs first U.S. spacewalk

  • Crew

  • Gemini IV Spacecraft

  • US USSR Apollo Test Project

  • Camera on board

  • Skylab

  • 2001

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