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Did You Know That Astronaut’s Cameras Get Space Suits Too?

Did You Know That Astronaut’s Cameras Get Space Suits Too?

NASA Nikon D2Xs (Image courtesy NASA)
By Andrew Liszewski

Popular Photography has a brief, but interesting, interview with someone at NASA regarding how a DSLR needs to be specially prepped before it can be blasted into orbit and used on a spacewalk. Most noticeable in the photo above, featuring a camera used for astronaut training, is a white shroud surrounding the flash. It turns out that’s apparently pretty important since the flash won’t fire in the vacuum of space if left completely exposed:

The equipment under the thermal blanket is a Nikon SB-800 flash in a custom housing that is used during a spacewalk (EVA). The flash needed a special housing because it will not work properly in the vacuum of space. The housing holds air pressure so that the flash will function properly. There is also a bracket on the bottom (covered with a white thermal blanket) that the camera and flash mount to.

And, while the cameras do return to Earth after a space flight (instead of simply being jettisoned to lighten the Shuttle’s (RIP) load) they don’t always return to active duty after inspections. Apparently the unshielded radiation of space does quite a number on their sensors.

[ Popular Photography – How Does NASA Get a Nikon D2Xs DSLR Ready to Go to Space? ] VIA [ Popular Science ]