Since 1962, Hasselblad cameras were the equipment of choice for NASA when it came to photographing, and even more so, documenting the unknown of space. A simple suggestion by photography enthusiast and mission pilot Walter Schirra to use a 500C on the Mercury 8 mission began the first page of a new chapter in the history of Hasselblad and a long, close, and mutually beneficial cooperation between the American space agency and the Swedish camera manufacturer.

Apollo 11

But of all the missions that a Hasselblad camera was used on, it was Apollo 11 that was the greatest of them all – an iconic moment so extraordinary that saw the first humans step off our planet and onto another celestial body. Standing up against the intense temperatures and lack of gravity in space, the Hasselblad cameras captured this once in a lifetime moment flawlessly, letting the rest of Earth see what astronauts Aldrin and Armstrong experienced on the Moon.

Hasselblad Data Camera

Taken onto the lunar surface was the silver Hasselblad Data Camera (HDC). Fitted with a Zeiss Biogon 60mm ƒ/5,6 lens and 70mm film magazine containing specially formulated thin-base Kodak film, it allowed for 200 images per magazine. Installed in the HDC was a Réseau plate, which optically imprinted fixed cross-marks that allowed for photogrammetric measurements to be made from the resulting negative. The HDC was specifically designed to cope with the rigors of the lunar surface; the silver paint colour was used to stabilize the camera when moving between temperatures ranging from -65° C (-85° F) to over 120° C (248° F). Armstrong carried out all the photography himself on the lunar surface with this HDC attached to his chest, which had never been tested in space before, adding to the pressure of this once in a lifetime moment.

Hasselblad Electric Camera

A second black Hasselblad Electric Camera (HEC) with a Zeiss Planar 80mm ƒ/2,8 lens was used to shoot from inside the Eagle lunar module. A third HEC was used by astronaut Michael Collins aboard the Command Module Columbia, which stayed in lunar orbit. It was the HEC used by Collins that was taken back to Earth, while the HDC and HEC used on the lunar surface and lunar module were left on the Moon to meet narrow weight margins for successful return. As far as we know, the latter two have been on the Moon since 1969.

50 years on the Moon

Commemorating the 50th anniversary of the historic Apollo 11 moon landing that took place on 20 July 1969, Hasselblad proudly celebrates its role as the cameras chosen by NASA for space photography, and even more so, the cameras that documented the historical moment of the first humans on the Moon. To celebrate this momentous occasion, Hasselblad announces the limited 907X Special Edition, which includes the 907X camera body and CFV II 50C digital back, both in matte black with commemorative “On the Moon Since 1969” anniversary text.

Discover the 907X Special Edition

Historical Images

Victor Hasselblad with Hasselblad Data Camera (HDC) outside of Hasselblad Headquarters in Gothenburg, Sweden.

Original Moon Landing Press Release published by Hasselblad in 1969. View Here

NASA Astronaut's Photography Manual. View Here

The crew of Apollo VII, Donne Eisele, Walter Schirra and Walter Cunningham holding space cameras, including Hasselblad 500C.

Moon Landing

Astronaut Buzz Aldrin exits the Apollo 11 Lunar Module onto the Moon. Taken by Astronaut Neil Armstrong.

Apollo 11 Astronaut with Hasselblad Data Camera.

Astronaut Buzz Aldrin on the Apollo 11 Lunar Module.

Astronaut Buzz Aldrin on the moon.

Hasselblad Space Cameras

Hasselblad 500C modified for space travel - leatherette stripped from body and painted black to minimize reflections - for the Mercury 8 mission.

For Apollo 8, Hasselblad 500EL cameras (designated HEC) were modified to NASA’s specifications which included making the camera easier to use while wearing space gloves, replacing plastic parts with metal, and more. 

50 Years on the Moon Anniversary

Merchandise collection

Celebrate 50 Years on the Moon with Hasselblad with our limited-edition collection of space-themed posters, t-shirts and stickers available on the Hasselblad store.

Discover the collection