Explorer VI, First Earth Satellite View, 1959 12.06. – 27.09.2015 | Fotomuseum Winterthur


First Picture from Explorer VI Satellite, digital image, 1959 © NASA

On 14 August 1959, the Explorer VI Satellite obtained the first image of Earth from space. The Explorer VI was a small satellite with a number of sensors to study trapped radiation of various energies and it also tested a scanning device designed for photographing the Earth’s cloud cover. The crude picture shows a sun-lighted area of the Central Pacific ocean and its cloud cover. It was made when the satellite was about 17,000 miles above the surface of the Earth, while the satellite was crossing Mexico. The signals were received at the South Point, Hawaii, tracking station. The image demonstrated the capability of photographing using a television camera in space.

More on NASA’s Earth Observations Photography database: eol.jsc.nasa.gov/Collections/EarthFromSpace/