Celebrate NASA’s 60th birthday with these vintage photos from space

One small step for a man and his camera, one giant leap for photography.

astronaut saluting flag on the moon
Man walks on the moon. From the Project Apollo Archive.Courtesy NASA

Sixty years ago NACA (National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics) officially became NASA (the National Aeronautics and Space Administration) and the early days of the space race began. The Apollo program launched a few years later in 1961 and was designed to get a human being to the moon and bring them back home safely.

These missions to the moon resulted in tons of advances for the scientific community, but they also brought back some amazing imagery. Bill Anders 'Earthrise' photograph, which was snapped during Apollo 8, became one of the most iconic images ever taken, but there are plenty of other awe-inspiring images that were taken during these trips. The Project Apollo Archive collects them all in one place and features images taken during all eleven of the manned-Apollo missions.

The archive is extensive and it includes a lot of images that in this day and age would be considered throwaway frames. A number of them are underexposed and out of focus, but if you are willing to dig you can find some incredible vintage shots from space: like the frames where you can see modified Hasselblad cameras strapped to the chests of astronauts.

Check out the gallery below to see some of our favorite frames from this massive archive.

astronauts together in space
Two astronauts hanging out during a mission to the moon. From the Project Apollo Archive.Courtesy NASA
cool astronaut in space
Shades in space. From the Project Apollo Archive.Courtesy NASA
juice pack in space
From the Project Apollo Archive.Courtesy NASA
shaving in space
Even astronauts need a close shave.Courtesy NASA
astronaut fixing ship
From the Project Apollo Archive.Courtesy NASA
astronaut fixing ship
From the Project Apollo Archive.Courtesy NASA
astronaut fixing ship
From the Project Apollo Archive.Courtesy NASA
Astronaut standing on the moon
An astronaut stands on the moon with a modified Hasselblad camera.Courtesy NASA
astronaut on the moon in color
Leaving the spacecraft to explore the moon.Courtesy NASA
astronaut on the moons surface
From the Project Apollo Archive.Courtesy NASA
astronauts photographing each other
From the Project Apollo Archive.Courtesy NASA
collecting moon samples
From the Project Apollo Archive.Courtesy NASA
earth over moons horizon
Earth seen from the moon.Courtesy NASA
heart dug in moons surface
A heart dug into the surface of the moon.Courtesy NASA
Moon exploration
From the Project Apollo Archive.Courtesy NASA
footprint on the moon
A footprint on the moon.Courtesy NASA
moon photography in color
The surface of the moon. From the Project Apollo Archive.Courtesy NASA
moon terrain
From the Project Apollo Archive.Courtesy NASA
space technology on the moon
From the Project Apollo Archive.Courtesy NASA
astronaut with the american flag
America makes it to the moon.Courtesy NASA