NSSDC Apollo Film Archive Refreshed

Volume 13, Number 2, June 1997
By Joseph King and Robert Tice

Among the more popular NSSDC image data are lunar images captured by a series of Apollo astronauts on 70-mm film using Hassleblad cameras. In fact, owing to their use in satisfying repeated requests for images, NSSDC's film was starting to show some evidence of age. To rectify this situation, NSSDC has over the past few years worked with personnel at the photo archive of Johnson Space Center (JSC), where original film from NASA's manned missions has been held over the years.

Robert Tice of the Photo Archive appears before an Apollo image.

Over the past year or so as part of its re-engineering, JSC has been creating thumbnail digital versions of all its imagery to be made network-accessible by JSC later this year and has been transferring its actual film holdings to the National Archive and Records Administration facility. JSC's commitment to leave the film storage and management business at this time made it reasonable to ship to NSSDC pristine copies all 70-mm Apollo Hassleblad film, plus copies of virtually all other Apollo film. This is film produced directly from the original film used by the astronauts.

In March 1997 NSSDC received 132 film reels from JSC. These were in a variety of sizes (16-mm movie, 35-mm Nikon, 70-mm Hassleblad, and 5" metric and panoramic) and hue (40 color, 92 black and white). There was some film from Apollo 4 (launched November 1967 into Earth orbit) and some film from each Apollo between 6 and 17. Some images are Earth-looking.

Of all these reels nine were of black and white Hassleblad imagery corresponding to NSSDC's prior film stock most in need of replenishment. NSSDC has had high quality copies of these made through a Washington area Department of Defense (DOD) photo facility. NSSDC will hold the JSC-provided copy in permanent archive conditions and will use the DOD-replicated copies as working copies from which to satisfy future requests.

Mr. Richard Slater and his colleagues at JSC were most helpful in preparing the film stock and associated inventory for transfer to NSSDC.

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Miranda Beall, beall@nssdca.gsfc.nasa.gov, (301) 286-0162
Hughes STX, Code 633, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center
Greenbelt, MD 20771, U.S.A.

Erin D. Gardner, gardner@nssdca.gsfc.nasa.gov, (301) 286-0163
Hughes STX, Code 633, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center
Greenbelt, MD 20771, U.S.A.

NASA home page GSFC home page GSFC organizational page

Author:Miranda Beall
Curators: Erin Gardner and Miranda Beall
Responsible Official: Dr. Joseph H. King, Code 633
Last Revised: 26 JUNE 1997 [EDG]