45 years ago, July 20 1969, Apollo 11 put two men and two Hasselblads on the moon.
The resulting images are iconic.
They were simple to use (with bulky space gloves) and the large format film was preloaded into magazines that could easily be interchanged mid-roll when lighting situations changed.
Astronaut Wally Schira carried the first Hasselblad (a 500C which he had purchased in Houston) into space during his Earth orbit in 1962.
During the Apollo 11 mission, nine magazines of 70-millimeter film were exposed using four specially modified Hasselblad cameras:
70-mm Hasselblad Electric Camera: carried aboard the command module, featured a motor-drive mechanism, powered by two nickel-cadmium batteries, that advanced the film and cocked the shutter whenever the camera was activated.
70-mm Hasselblad EL Data Cameras (EDC): carried on the lunar module, electrically powered, semiautomatic operation. It used Carl Zeiss 60-mm Biogon lens, equipped with a polarisation filter. Operated by squeezing a trigger mounted on the camera handle. The reseau plate was made of glass and was fitted to the back of the camera body, extremely close to the film plane. The plate was engraved with a grid of 25 crosses which were recorded on every exposed frame to provide a means of determining distances and analysis. The camera was bracket-mounted on the front of a LM astronaut’s suit. The photo plate was also coated with a small conductive layer of silver, preventing the buildup of static electricity that could result in a spark. The outer camera was painted silver to help maintain its temperature on the lunar surface and all lubricants had to be replaced to allow the machines to work in the vacuum of space.
70-mm Hasselblad Lunar Surface Superwide-Angle Camera: carried aboard the lunar module. The shutter and film advance were operated manually.
The folding loop on back of the magazines was to assist hoisting them up to the lunar module. The camera and the lenses were all left on the moon to save weight on the return to Earth. Only the film magazines were brought back.
Altogether a dozen NASA astronauts have walked on the moon surface in five lunar landing missions. No human has returned since the crew of Apollo 17 departed in December 1972.
12 Hasselblads are still sitting there.