Nikon Equipment Used on Space Shuttle Discovery September 7, 2005 Photo courtesy of NASA On August 9, at 9:11 pm (Japan Standard Time), Space Shuttle Discovery returned safely to earth. Throughout the journey, the Japanese media published scenes of Japanese Astronaut Soichi Noguchi in action; his spacewalk astounded everyone, and was only the second Extra Vehicular Activity (EVA) performed by a Japanese astronaut. With the memories of the Columbia tragedy of 2003 fresh in everyone's thoughts, Noguchi and fellow mission specialist Stephen Robinson conducted essential check and repair activities on the orbiter and performed maintenance on the International Space Station. In addition, the pair successfully removed two strips of protruding filler from the heatshield on the orbiter's belly, an operation unprecedented in the Shuttle program. Nikon was also represented on Discovery by the F5-based digital camera (produced by Kodak) and several types of Nikkor lenses and Speedlight flashes. The SB-800 Speedlight flashes, encased in a special sealed housing designed by NASA, were used when the exterior surface of the orbiter was photographed during the EVA. This is the first time Speedlight has been used in such a way. From within the Shuttle, Nikkor optics were used to photograph the Shuttle as it maneuvered near the Space Station, then rolled over to reveal the heat-shielded underside to a photographer stationed in the space station. As the roll-over took place, an astronaut using a telephoto Nikkor optic photographed the underside of the craft. Thus Nikon products played a vital role in inspecting the Shuttle's heatshields, and aided in the analysis of the orbiter surface. Nikon's photo equipment was also used, among other things, to record the crew's activities both inside Discovery and in the International Space Station. Nikon products have been mounted on every manned American spaceflight since Apollo 15, and this is a clear manifestation of the high reliability and quality of Nikon optics. Through years of participation with NASA, Nikon Inc. has frequently provided expert training for NASA astronauts in the use of Nikon photo equipment. This most recent Shuttle flight follows decades of Nikon's involvement in providing products for NASA's space flights. The Nikon products and their reliable performance and technology have endured the harsh and demanding environment of space travel, IVA (In Vehicle Activity) and EVA (Extra Vehicle Activity) to contribute to the success of the Shuttle's mission. Photo courtesy of NASA Click the image for a high-resolution Discovery Mission Specialist Stephen K. Robinson uses Nikon equipment while anchored to the International Space Station's robotic arm. Photo courtesy of NASA The separated external fuel tank. The F5-based digital camera is installed in the aft section of the orbiter Discovery and is used to photograph the abnormalities of the fuel tank, playing a vital role in the space mission.