NASA Modified Nikon N90S
w/ Kodak DCS 460C Digital Back
EarthKam

EarthKAM (Earth Knowledge Acquired by Middle school students) is a NASA educational outreach program enabling students, teachers, and the public to learn about Earth from the unique perspective of space. During EarthKAM missions (periods when the EarthKAM camera is operational), middle school students around the world request images of specific locations on Earth. The entire collection of EarthKAM images is available in a searchable Sally Ride EarthKAM image archive.

The project was initiated by Dr. Sally Ride (America’s first woman in space) in 1995 and called KidSat. The KidSat camera flew on three space shuttle flights (STS 76, 81, and 86) to test its feasibility. In 1998, the program was deemed successful and renamed EarthKAM. In 2013, NASA renamed the program Sally Ride EarthKAM after the late astronaut, who died in July 2012. The EarthKAM camera flew on two additional space shuttle flights (STS 89 and 99) before moving over to the International Space Station (ISS) in 2001 on Expedition 1. The Sally Ride EarthKAM camera has since been a permanent payload on board the International Space Station and supports approximately four missions annually.

The actual camera used is no longer the Kodak DCS 460 however. As technology changed and digital hardware improved, the DCS 460 was eventually replaced by the Kodak DCS 760c. According to the EarthKam website, a Nikon D2X has been performing the duties of EarthKam since 2011

The diagram below illustrates the hardware configuration for the early EarthKam:

The camera itself was positioned at a window and waited for instructions on when and what to photograph

The process of obtaining images worked using the workflow depicted below:


The following illustration shows how the data was relayed from the school to the Space Station and back. Next time you are wondering why your internet is so slow, keep this graphic in mind...




Links to my NASA Nikon pages:

CLICK HERE to learn about the NASA Modified Nikon F with Motor Drive

CLICK HERE to learn about the NASA F3 Small Camera

COMING SOON - learn about the NASA F3 Small Camera's EVA Modifications

CLICK HERE to learn about my NASA F3 'Big' Camera with the removable 250 Exposure Magazine back

CLICK HERE to learn about the NASA F4 Electronic Still Camera

CLICK HERE to learn about the NASA Nikon HERCULES system

COMING SOON - learn about my NASA F4S Camera

CLICK HERE - learn about my NASA F5 IVA and EVA Cameras

CLICK HERE to learn about my NASA DCS460C Digital Camera used on the 1st and 2nd expeditions at the International Space Station. This one captured shots of the Space Shuttle above earth and even shots of the Space Station itself from the Soyuz Russian spacecraft

CLICK HERE to learn about the NASA DCS460C Digital Camera used on the 2nd and 3rd expeditions at the International Space Station. This one captured the aftermath in New York City on 9/11

CLICK HERE to learn about the NASA Kodak DCS760C Electronic Still Camera

COMING SOON - learn about the NASA Modified Nikon Nikkor Manual Focus Lenses

CLICK HERE for the NASA Nikon Serial Number Database; a never ending work in progress to record all the film-based and early digital Nikon gear used in the Gemini, Apollo and Shuttle eras and the early days of the International Space Station

Research and Photo Credits:
Brian Au JSC/D055
Peter Coeln - Westlicht Photographica



© 2010-2017 Timm J Chapman - www.timmchapman.com

All images on this website are © Timm J Chapman
Copyright Information