Satellite photography history

Oct 12, 2021
The first photograph of the Earth from space was obtained on October 24, 1946. Launched in the United States from the White Sands test site, an automatic V-2 rocket entered a suborbital trajectory with an apogee of 105 km and made a series of images of the Earth. Filming was carried out with a 35-mm film camera on black-and-white film; photographs were taken every one and a half seconds. The first satellite photograph of the Earth was taken on August 14, 1959 by the American satellite Explorer 6. The first photographs of the Moon were taken by the Soviet satellite Luna-3 on October 6, 1959 (while photographing the far side of the Moon). Manual filming of the Earth from space with a 35-mm movie camera was first made by the Soviet cosmonaut German Titov (Vostok-2, August 6, 1961). A widely known photograph of the complete disk of the planet called the Blue Marble, taken in December 1972 from Apollo 17. In the same year, the United States launched Landsat, the largest program for obtaining satellite images of the Earth's surface (the last satellite of this program was launched in 2021). In 1977, the first real-time image was taken as part of the KH-11 reconnaissance program. NASA used to create cameras ourselves but now it's not profitable. Nowadays SpaceX and Nasa are using space cameras manufacturer. I am a big fan of a space photography. Satellite imagery is used in many fields of activity - agriculture, geological and hydrological research, forestry, environmental protection, territorial planning, educational, reconnaissance and military purposes. Such images can be performed both in the visible part of the spectrum and in the ultraviolet, infrared and other parts of the range. There are also various bump maps made using radar surveys. The decryption and analysis of satellite images is now increasingly performed using automated software packages such as ERDAS Imagine or ENVI. In the early days of the industry, some of the types of image enhancements commissioned by the US government were performed by contractors. For example, ESL Incorporated developed one of the first 2D Fourier transforms for digital image processing.

It's a matter of time that the technologies will go further, but I still wonder one thing - will we have access to civilian cameras? First cameras were used by militaries and government, now we have pretty access to them. How long we will be waiting for space cameras?