National Air and Space Museum Archives

Large Format Camera (LFC) Collection

Collection ID:
Physical Description:
3.34 Cubic feet
5 containers
This collection consists of material documenting the Large Format Camera program.

Scope and Contents
Scope and Contents
This collection consists of 3.3 cubic feet of material relating to the LFC program. The following types of material were included: manuals, reports, plans, memorandums, one audio cassette, maps, and three oversized prints from the LFC.

No arrangement; foldered by type.

Biographical / Historical
Biographical / Historical
The Large Format Camera (LFC), the central component of the Orbiter Camera Payload System, was a film-based camera consisting of two conjoined components: the lens cone assembly and the film magazine assembly. Developed by Itek in the late 1970s for a NASA contract, the LFC was turned over to NASA circa 1980, where it was kept in storage until it was flown for its first, and only, flight on space shuttle mission SST-41G. Originally developed for use in high-altitude aircraft, the camera took its name from its large format film (23 x 46 cm). This film size, in combination with the camera's special optics, allowed the LFC to capture in a single frame more than 60,000 square kilometers (23,400 square miles) with enough resolution to distinguish buildings and roads. The images helped in creating precise, detailed maps and aided in geological analysis, environmental monitoring, and urban planning, for a range of governmental agencies and private companies interested in the LFC technology. However, while the experiment was considered a success, due to high shuttle transportation costs and the limited market for selling LFC products, NASA was not successful in engaging other agencies or private companies in paying the costs to use it on the shuttle.

Patti Williams
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Stennis Space Center, Gift, 2018, NASM.2018.0005
Processing Information
Arranged, described, and encoded by [Archivist's name], YEAR.

Using the Collection
Conditions Governing Access
No restrictions on access
Preferred Citation
Large Format Camera (LFC) Collection, NASM.2018.0005, National Air and Space Museum, Smithsonian Institution.
Conditions Governing Use
Material is subject to Smithsonian Terms of Use. Should you wish to use NASM material in any medium, please submit an Application for Permission to Reproduce NASM Material, available at Permissions Requests.

Keywords table of terms and types.
Keyword Terms Keyword Types
Astronautics Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Space photography Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Technical manuals Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Technical reports Genre Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Large Format Camera (LFC) Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid

Repository Contact
National Air and Space Museum Archives
14390 Air & Space Museum Parkway
Chantilly, VA 20151