First orbital panorama over the Earth: Eastern Atlantic Ocean, Gulf of Guinea off the coast of Gabon and Equatorial Guinea

Space Mission
Apollo 6, April 4, 1968


Photo Description
Collage of vintage chromogenic prints on fiber-based Kodak paper; This unique hand-made panorama is comprised of eight images taken during the Apollo 6 flight. Numbered to upper margin of each photo ‘MSC AS6-2-977’ to ‘AS6-2-991’ with ‘A Kodak Paper’ watermarks to verso.
11 h × 48⅜ w in (28 × 123 cm)

Apollo 6 was the final unmanned Apollo test mission of the giant Saturn V rocket that would take astronauts to the Moon. The photographic mission of Apollo 6 was to photograph a whole orbit of the Earth in a vertical sequence, which would begin at the end of the first orbit near New Orleans and terminate at the end of the second orbit over Baja California.
An automated 70mm still camera was mounted in the Command Module of the Apollo 6 vehicle to take some spectacular color stereo photographs. The photographs were taken every 9 seconds, giving sufficient overlap between frames to precisely cover the entire orbital path.

These were later found to be excellent for cartographic, topographic, and geographic studies of continental areas, coastal regions, and shallow waters. The camera photographed sections of the United States, the Atlantic Ocean, Africa, and the western Pacific Ocean, and had a haze-penetrating film and filter combination that provided better color balance and higher resolution than any photographs obtained during the Mercury and Gemini flights.