Online Journal of Space Communication


Aerial and satellite photography has been used extensively in many different research efforts, for example, atmospheric studies, vegetation analysis, and change detection. Archives of historical aerial and satellite photography are a valuable resource to the science community.

There is currently an archive of over 450,000 photographs of Earth taken by United States astronauts dating back to the early 1960's. This archive covers the majority of the Earth's surface and offers imagery taken by a variety of camera configurations including film and digital, various lenses, different look angles, and changing solar illuminance. There is extensive repeat coverage over many regions of the world's landscape. These photographs have been increasingly analyzed in order to assess their potential as a remote sensing resource. The objectives of this paper are to give the reader an evolutionary history of astronaut-acquired imagery of Earth, and to discuss the many scientific analyses that have been successfully completed using this underutilized resource.



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