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Space Acquired Photography

   Gemini (Key Largo, Florida Keys)

   Skylab (Katmandu, Nepal)

   Large Format Camera (Boston, Massachusetts)

USGS maintains a copy of convenience for select space acquired photography provided by NASA.

Collections include:

  • Gemini photography was acquired between March 23, 1965 and November 15, 1966. The images were collected as part of the Synoptic Terrain Photography and the Synoptic Weather Photography experiments during Gemini Missions III through XII. Hand-held cameras were used to obtain photographs of geologic, oceanic, and meteorologic targets. The Gemini archive consists primarily of 70-mm black and white (B/W), color, and color-infrared (CIR) film. All Gemini photographs are distributed by the USGS Earth Resources Observation and Science (EROS) Center as digital products only.
  • Skylab photography was acquired between May 22, 1973 and February 8, 1974 during three manned flights. The Skylab Earth Resources Experiment Package used two photographic remote sensing systems. The Multispectral Photographic Camera (S190A), was a six-camera array, in which each camera used 70-mm film and a six-inch focal length lens. The acquired film ranges from narrow-band B/W to broad-band color and CIR. The Earth Terrain Camera (S190B) consisted of a single high-resolution camera which used five-inch film and an 18-inch focal length lens. The acquired film includes B/W, black and white infrared (BIR), color, and CIR. All Skylab photographs are distributed by the USGS EDC as digital products only.
  • Shuttle Large Format Camera (LFC) images were acquired from the Space Shuttle Challenger Mission on October 5-13, 1984. The LFC was mounted in the cargo bay, and was operated via signals from ground controllers. The archived imagery includes 9 x 18 inch B/W, natural color, and CIR film. Shuttle LFC photographs are distributed by the USGS EDC as digital products only.

Digital Information

Since October 1, 2009, the USGS film archive collections have been systematically scanned to a standard format High Resolution 25 micron digital image (excluding Declassified Satellite Imagery which will be scanned to 7 micron) and also offered to the public at no charge.

EarthExplorer can be used to search, preview, and download existing digital files at no cost. For all other imagery, an order will need to be placed to scan the film at $30.00 per frame.

Coverage Maps

Coverage Maps indicating the availability of Space Acquired Photography are available for download.

Additional Information:

Data Use and Citation Policies

For information on how to cite USGS data plus guidance on usage restrictions,
please see our Data Citations and Use page at

Any use of trade, firm, or product names is for descriptive purposes only and
does not imply endorsement by the U.S. Government.

Contact Information for User Assistance

U.S. Geological Survey (USGS)
Earth Resources Observation and Science (EROS) Center
47914 252nd Street
Sioux Falls, SD 57198-0001

Phone Number: 605-594-6151
Toll Free: 800-252-4547
Fax: 605-594-6589


Business Hours: Monday thru Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., Central Time