One Giant Leap For Nikon

Nikon has scored a marketing coup, with its DS3 being chosen by NASA for use during the next Space Shuttle mission

NASA has placed an order for 11 D3S digital SLR cameras and seven AF-S NIKKOR 14-24mm f/2.8G ED lenses to be carried on the Space Shuttle and used to photograph activities at the International Space Station (ISS) in the future.

The Japanese camera manufacturer has a history with the US space program, with its camera being used on several other occasions over the past 40 years. This includes:

  • 1971: Nikon Photomic FTN* (NASA specifications) was used on Apollo 15
  • 1980: The “Small Camera”, based on the Nikon F3 and equipped with a motor drive, and the F3 “Big Camera”, which utilized long film, were delivered to NASA. The “Small Camera” was used aboard the Space Shuttle Columbia launched the following year.
  • 1991: The Nikon F4 and F4S were delivered to NASA
  • 1999: The Nikon F5 and AF Nikkor lens were carried aboard the Space Shuttle Discovery to photograph extravehicular activities (EVA)
  • 2008: D2XS digital SLR cameras were delivered to NASA. Six D2XS cameras are used in space to document activities such as inspection and maintenance.

In addition, already about 15 types of NIKKOR lenses (more than 35 lenses all together) are kept aboard the International Space Station for intravehicular and extravehicular photography to provide continued support for NASA’s space activities.

No special modifications will be made to these products. They will be the same products available to end-users. This equipment will be used along with the Nikon D2XS digital SLR cameras, NIKKOR lenses, and Nikon Speedlights already in use at the International Space Station.

Space, however, is not the only extreme environment in which Nikon equipment is used. Nikon also provides official observation equipment used in exploring the Antarctic.

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