Olympus Launches Space Project

E-3 will be used to document the earth

CENTER VALLEY, Pa., February 26, 2009 – Olympus Corporation commemorates its 90th anniversary by creating the ‘Olympus Space Project’ to photograph the majestic beauty of our planet and raise awareness to protect it. The company’s flagship E-3 digital single lens reflex (DSLR) camera and ZUIKO digital lenses will journey to the International Space Station (ISS) on the next Space Shuttle Discovery mission.

Dr. Koichi Wakata, a Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) astronaut, will take images of the earth with the Olympus E-3 throughout his three-month mission on the ISS. Specifically, he will stay in the “Kibo,” which is the Japanese Experiment Module. It is located in the ISS and is Japan’s first manned facility where astronauts can conduct experiments for long periods of time. ‘Hope’ is the English translation for Kibo, and Dr. Wakata will be the first astronaut to inhabit the new experiment module. Images captured by Dr. Wakata will be available on Olympus’ Web site at http://olympus-space-project.com.

“For 90 years we’ve continued to develop innovative products that help improve peoples’ lives every day – from capturing memories to documenting environmental changes,” said F. Mark Gumz, president, Olympus Imaging America Inc. “Olympus cameras are used by the National Park Service to track air quality at our nation’s parks and by wildlife photographer Mitsuaki Iwago, whose images focus on global environmental issues and nature preservation. We’re taking this commitment to the next level by capturing our planet’s delicate beauty from space.”

Designed for professional and aspiring photographers, the E-3 offers amazing image quality, splashproof and dustproof durability, and a magnesium-alloy body that survives the toughest shooting environments. The E-3 complies with NASA’s standards for use in space. Olympus continues to be an innovator, developing new technologies to expand the frontiers of digital photography and leading where others have followed. Proof that Olympus enables consumers to capture it all. Product details are available at www.getolympus.com.

Details on the ISS, JAXA, the Japanese Experiment Module, Dr. Wakata and the next mission of the Space Shuttle Discovery are available at http://www.jaxa.jp/index_e.html.


The ISS orbits 220 miles above the earth, at a speed of 90 minutes per orbit. It allows scientist to perform studies and experiments in space by taking advantage of special features unique to space. It is built and operated by a consortium of 15 countries, including the United States, Japan, Russia, Canada and 11 nations of the European Space Agency. The Space Shuttle was developed by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), and three shuttles – Discovery, Atlantis and Endeavor – currently travel between NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida and the ISS.

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