I feel like I'm in grade school having to explain myself.
Why have I posted this in numerous forums?
Well to see a NASA modified Nikon F3HP is not an everyday occurrence. So I thought I'd share it with others that might be interested. believe it or not, not all Nikon fans congregate at 'Nikon Rumours', hence the reason why I thought I'd share with various Nikon sites where I thought like minded folks might hang out. The internet is a great place to share; at least I think it is.
Why is it practically word for word?
Because, like NASA, my credo is to accomplish as much as possible while at the same time exhibiting as little effort as possible. Hence I used cut & paste to share the info. Now that I've had do write out this diatribe response, I have blown that credo all together.
If I have documentation, why am I in contact with folks at NASA?
Well the documentation shows its historical transient record thru the NASA facility. What I don't have is more information such as what other mods was Nikon instructed to perform on these special models. Piecing together that stuff from the web is tough and sporadic at best. I can see a bunch of visual differences, but I can't comment on the internal mods, or less obvious mods. I also contacted Nikon in Japan and the US to see if I can find anything out from them thru the contract or drawing numbers. Japan would likely be the best bet instead of Nikon USA, but after being to Tokyo twice, English is not as commonly spoken as one may think. Sometimes when you don't know it all, you have to rely on other folks expertise.
Why does NASA use old cameras?
Well the F3 was developed in the early 80s and marketed til the mid to late 90s. The F4 was developed in 1989, but I don't think the first one went into space until the early 90s. According to my record, the first entry is Jun 12th 1986, so I assume the model was delivered around that time. It went thru various testing thru 1987 and apparently sat on a shelf in 1988. An internal self timer was added in Apr of 1989. The camera went thru a PIA which looks like some sort of preflight prep (but someone from NASA might be able to answer what PIA stands for) in March of 1990. The camera went in for servicing in Apr of that year. It was then sent to one of the other NASA buildings for an equipment upgrade (a -303 configuration; denoted by the addition of 303 to the P/N engraving. Again, someone from NASA might be able to answer what the -303 consisted of. The camera was then prepped for flight aboard STS-49 in March of 92, shutter tested and serviced and then shipped to Kennedy space Center in April of that year. The camera was then received back post flight, then prepped again for flight STS-63 in Dec of 94, etc etc until it was decommissioned in 2000 and shipped back to Johnson space Center in 2006. Needless to say, NASA tests and restests and retests before anything goes up in space. So, just because they get a camera from Nikon in 1989, doesn't mean it will actually fly until years later - especially back then when they were still learning. Remember AF and Matrix metering was fairly new back then. Plus, NASA took numerous cameras on the shuttles - F3s, Hasselblad 70mms, Imax and others. If it were me and I wanted to make sure I'd have a working unit in the field, I always take my old trusted & proven unit as a backup to my new fangled jobby. No reason why NASA wouldn't think the same way.
Did I earn dessert since I finished all my vegetables?