In 1962, astronaut Wally Schirra piloted the Mercury Atlas-8 into space, carrying with him a special device that would become a historic artifact: a Hassleblad 500c camera, the first Hasselblad camera to ever go into space. On Nov. 13, Boston-based RR auction will auction the Hasselblad. The camera, purchased by Schirra over the counter in Houston in 1962 and used on his nine-hour orbit around the Earth, was later used by astronaut Gordon Cooper on his subsequent flight and final Mercury mission to space aboard the Mercury Atlas-9 (MA-9). To prepare the camera for its journey, the body was painted black to prevent any reflections and had to be fitted with an aiming device to would allow astronauts to ability to maneuver with the gloves and helmets they had to wear. Gordon was able to capture stunning photos of Tibet during his 36-hour trip around the Earth, and later wrote an official letter to NASA authenticating that this very camera was used to “obtain a number of good shots of the earth.” Forensic examination of official NASA photographic evidence confirms this Hasselblad camera body as the one Schirra carried aboard MA-8. Experts have matched the unique identifying marks.

Photos provided to In Sight courtesy RR Auction. The auction starts Nov. 13 at 3 p.m. EST.

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