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Mark Peters : March 7th 2009 - 00:30 CET

Olympus E-3 camera joins Space Shuttle flight

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OlympusOlympus E-3 celebrates space project : To celebrate ninety years of operation, Olympus is giving itself a gift: the Olympus Space Project. For this occasion, Dr Koichi Wakata, a Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) astronaut, will use the reliable Olympus E-3 D-SLR and ZUIKO DIGITAL lenses to snap the Earth from outer space. Pictures taken from the Kibo, the Japanese experimental module within the International Space Station (ISS), will then be posted on Olympus’ web sites and shown at photo exhibitions. Such amazing pictures of our blue planet are a testament to the value that Olympus places on the environment. The Space Shuttle Discovery which will carry Dr Wakata and his Olympus E-3 to the ISS is scheduled to launch soon.
Olympus Space Project
In October 2009, the Olympus Corporation will celebrate its ninetieth anniversary. Initially specialised in microscopes, Olympus has become a leading innovator in imaging as well as the medical and life science sectors - with incredible optics as a common thread. At the heart of this tradition of excellence and underlying all its developments is the profound desire to improve people’s lives. Caring for the environment is an important part of this commitment. By using images that demonstrate the effects of global warming on the earth and wildlife, Olympus has helped to raise awareness. One example is the imagery of “Global Warming Witness - Mitsuaki Iwago” posted on Olympus’ website.

Olympus SLR camera

Digital pictures of the Earth
Now, the Olympus Space Project will show Earth’s irreplaceable beauty through breathtaking images captured from the space station. The Kibo is a Japanese experiment module within the ISS. It is the first Japanese module designed to allow longer stays by astronauts such as JAXA’s Dr Koichi Wakata. While inside Kibo, he will take pictures of Earth using the Olympus E-3 and ZUIKO DIGITAL lenses which were adapted to the needs of this particular mission.

Dr Wakata

Olympus Space Project equipment
• D-SLR: Olympus E-3 camera
• Four Thirds lens : ZUIKO DIGITAL 11-22mm 1:2.8-3.5
• Four Thirds lens : ZUIKO DIGITAL ED 50-200mm 1:2.8-3.5 SWD
• Power Battery Holder: Olympus HLD-4

Olympus E-3

Olympus E-3 and ZUIKO DIGITAL lens
Designed for professional and aspiring photographers alike, the E-3 boasts amazing image quality combined with reliability. This Olympus E-System flagship’s splash and dust proof magnesium-alloy body was created to survive the toughest shooting environments. Now it sets out to demonstrate just what an ultimate companion it can be: the “made for the extreme” The Olympus E-3 camera equipment is entirely safe for use in space.

Four Thirds Standard lenses
And by using the Olympus E-3 in conjunction with its Four Thirds Standard based ZUIKO DIGITAL lenses, sharp and crisp images are guaranteed. For the space mission, two high-grade pro lens units will be employed: the ZUIKO DIGITAL 11-22mm 1:2.8-3.5 and the ED 50-200mm 1:2.8-3.5 SWD. Manufactured at Olympus’ TATSUNO plant by skilful master technicians, these lenses offer a wide optical range (wide angle to super telephoto) and are splash and dust proof for outstanding reliability in unpredictable shooting circumstances.

Olympus space project website

The International Space Station (ISS) and the Space Shuttle
The ISS orbits approximately 400 kilometres above the Earth at a speed of 90 minutes per orbit. It allows scientists to perform studies and experiments by taking advantage of special features unique to space. It was built and is operated by a consortium of 15 countries. The Space Shuttle programme was developed by NASA. Three space shuttles (Discovery, Atlantis and Endeavor) are launched from NASA’s Kennedy Space Centre in the United States.

Olympus space project

Kibo and Dr Koichi Wakata
The Japanese Kibo module for the ISS is Japan’s first manned facility enabling astronauts to conduct long-term experiments. Kibo was transported to the ISS on three separate Space Shuttle missions in 2008. Dr Wakata is scheduled to stay on the ISS for approximately three months. With the February 2009 mission, Dr Wakata will become the first Japanese astronaut to have flown on three missions and stayed in the ISS for an extended period of time.

Olympus Space camera

Camera equipment requirements in space
To create a safe facility that supports extended stays, onboard equipment must pass vigorous safety tests. For example, sharp edges are not permitted and materials must emit very little volatile gas. Certification by JAXA and NASA requires all equipment to pass various inspections such as a gas-emission and pressure-reduction test. The Olympus E-3 and its system accessories passed all examinations with flying colours. The Olympus E-System is well suited to the space station because of its light weight, small size, and high reliability.

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