First color photograph of Earth taken beyond low orbit

Space Mission
Apollo 4, November 9, 1967, 005:39:00 GET

Taken by an automatic Maurer 70mm camera aboard the unmanned Apollo 4 spacecraft

Photo Description
Vintage chromogenic print on fiber-based Kodak paper, 20.3 x 25.4cm (8 x 10in), with “A Kodak Paper” watermarks on the verso, numbered “NASA AS4-1-410” (NASA MSC) in red in top margin, with a restauration (minor folding) at upper right
20.3 x 25.4cm (8 x 10in)

“Coastal Brazil, Atlantic Ocean, West Africa, Sahara, Antarctica, looking west, as photographed from the Apollo 4 (Spacecraft 017/Saturn 501) unmanned, Earth-orbital space mission. This picture was taken when the Spacecraft 017 and Saturn S-IVB (third) stage were orbiting Earth at an altitude of 9,745 nautical miles” (original NASA caption for AS4-1-410).

The photographic mission of Apollo 4 was the acquisition and return of the highest altitude color imagery ever made of the Earth. Located in the capsule of the spacecraft, looking out of the window, was not an astronaut but an automatic 70mm Maurer camera which took this beautiful view of the full crescent Earth.

“Every picture of the whole Earth so far had been electronically transmitted; this time the negative was taken back to Earth and was recovered in the Pacific after reentry of the capsule” (Poole, p. 86).