On October 24, 1946, a V2 rocket captured by the U.S. Armed Forces at the end of World War II takes off from White Sands Missile Range with a camera on board. The camera took one frame of 35-millimeter film every second and a half. The rocket reached a maximum altitude of 105 kilometers in its suborbital flight, capturing the first images of Earth as seen from space in history.

The camera was crushed when the V2, having exhausted its fuel, crashed to earth at the end of its flight. But the film was inside an armored container that survived the impact and, as Clyde T. Holliday, the camera’s lead designer, later said, showed us for the first time “what our Earth would look like to visitors from another planet arriving in a spacecraft.”


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