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Photograph of Earth from an Air Force Atlas Intercontinental Ballistic Missile

Photograph of Earth from an Air Force Atlas Intercontinental Ballistic Missile

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Original caption: SUBJECT: MOTHER EARTH FROM 700MILES UP -- This series of photographs taken during the flight of an Air Force Atlas Intercontinental Ballistic Missile August 24, 1959, shows the earth from an altitude of up to 700 miles. The photographs were taken by a movie camera installed in a recoverable capsule carried in the missile nose cone. Both the capsule and the nose cone were designed and built by General Electric Missile and Space Vehicle Department at Philadelphia, Pa. The movie film shows about one-sixth of the earth's surface, including portions of the North and South Americas and Africa. The camera was installed in the nose cone to help prove the operation of the stabilization system used to orient the re-entry vehicle during its flight through space. This series of photographs were selected from the 16mm movie film, and shows views of the earth from approximately 200 miles to 700 miles up. A linear distance on the earth of approximately 2,000 miles can be seen on each of the photographs. At approximately 200 miles up, the main stage of the Atlas can be seen falling away, just after separation from the nose cone. The earth's horizon is reflected in the polished stainless steel of the missile body. Florida can be seen (center left) pointing toward the missile. OFFICIAL U.S. AIR FORCE PHOTO RELEASE BY THE DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE, WASHINGTON 25, D.C. AUGUST 31, 1959 VIA NATIONAL AERONAUTICS AND SPACE ADMINISTRATION.
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U.S. National Archives

The objects in this collection are from The U.S. National Archives. The U.S. National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) was established in 1934 by President Franklin Roosevelt. NARA keeps those Federal records that are judged to have continuing value—about 2 to 5 percent of those generated in any given year. There are approximately 10 billion pages of textual records; 12 million maps, charts, and architectural and engineering drawings; 25 million still photographs and graphics; 24 million aerial photographs; 300,000 reels of motion picture film; 400,000 video and sound recordings; and 133 terabytes of electronic data. All of these materials are preserved because they are important to the workings of Government, have long-term research worth, or provide information of value to citizens.

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