About Human Spaceflight

Information courtesy of the Earth Sciences and Image Analysis Laboratory, Johnson Space Center

Earthrise photographed from Apollo 8
Apollo 8 astronauts saw this unprecedented view of Earth as they came from behind the far side of the moon in December 1968.

Although most of NASA’s Earth Science activities are conducted using free-flying satellite sensors, spacecraft with humans on board also make important contributions to our understanding of the Earth. Astronaut photography of Earth from the first space flights in the 1960s formed the foundation for the remote sensing technologies that followed (Lowman 1999). As the number of sensors and satellites in orbit has increased, the baseline activity by astronauts has also continued. Human Spaceflight now includes missions on the Space Shuttle Orbiters and the International Space Station. The types of missions include specific sensors that are flown to collect data for a short period of time, and ongoing efforts by the astronauts to photograph the Earth below them as they orbit the planet.

Space shuttle approaching International Space Station

next: International Space Station


by the Johnson Space Flight Center
July 9, 2002


About Human Spaceflight
International Space Station
Space Shuttle
Astronaut Photography