Documentation of a spacecraft is very much complete when it is flown. However, years later some pieces of information may
”evaporate.” This is where spacecraft photographs are vital.
Historic Space Systems studies photographs of a spacecraft at the time of its flight to:
- help synthesize all of the other documentation.
- reveal the exact flight configuration.
- confirm finishes on various parts.
Many detailed photographs are needed to completely document the vehicle.
Referencing actual spacecraft photographs is important for historical accuracy. Many photographs in official archives
document training vehicles or museum exhibits. While these photographs are helpful, they may not completely or accurately reflect the flown configuration.