Richard Underwood

Space Panoramas!



Richard W. Underwood has been involved in the aerospace industry since the 1950's. He was involved in the aerial mapping of the Cape Canaveral Eastern Test Range in 1956. He helped design the first topographic maps of the moon in 1961. From 1961 to 1964 he worked on the Mercury and Echo Balloon Satellite Projects. As the technical monitor for photo experiments on Gemini, Apollo, Skylab, and Apollo-Soyuz Project, as well as the photographic consultant for the Space Shuttle, he has worked with involved scientist from all over the world. He is the only person to have provided technical training to every single person to travel on a US spacecraft. The last crew he trained before retiring from NASA in 1986 was the Challenger 7 crew. NASA continues to calls him back to help train all subsequent crews and to train all new astronaut candidates.

While at NASA, Dick made over 1700 speeches on Space Photography in the US and 31 other countries. Since retiring he has made over 700 speeches as a worldwide professional speaker. His speeches are illustrated with the spectacular color slides taken by astronauts. After each space flight he would spend hours with the crew, evaluating their photography, and thus developing a unique and harmonious relationship with them. These slide illustrated speeches include topics such as:

  • Apollo: Photographic Voyages to the Moon
  • The Third Planet: A View from Space
  • What are we Doing to the Environment? The View from Space
  • Gemini: Stepping Stone to the Moon
  • Space Shuttle Photography
  • Living and Working in Space
  • Great Space Photos!

Dick enjoys being a world traveler. He has been to every county in the US, all 3076 of them, and to within 40 miles of every point in the United States. He has been to 119 countries and to all 7 continents.

Space Photography Slides Lecture Since 1965


    For over 30 years astronauts have lived and worked in space. They have brought back a spectacular series of photographs to prove it. The program uses a great many of these photographs to illustrate the human adaptability to space flight. These would include:

    • Conducting "space walks" and extravehicular activities.
    • The "creature comforts" such as eating, sleeping, playing, body care, etc.
    • Conducting unique scientific experiments.
    • Observing and recording unique astronomical phenomena.
    • Launching satellites from space.
    • Living, working, and driving on the moon.
    • Rendezvous with satellites to capture and return them to Earth.
    • Adapting to problems in space.
    • Can spiders spin webs in space?
    • Making necessary life-saving repairs.
    • Solving unique medical problems.
    • Astronauts as "human" satellites.
    • Operating a space station.

    The photography is the only way that we "earthlings" can understand what happens in space.


    The Space Shuttle has made the transition from experimental vehicles to a routinely used space transportation system. Various camera systems can record these remarkable space flights as well as U1e specialized scientific studies which can only be accomplished in space.

    The photography used in this program will demonstrate the human adaptation to life in space and how the astronauts cope with the special environment, as well as their ability to cope with both predicted and unpredicted events. The photos show how astronauts fly in space, place satellites into orbit, recover satellites, and repair them or return them to Earth, Conduct space walks and conduct experiments.

    The earth looking cameras will take you on a photographic journey round the world as you can see it as the astronauts see it. Beautiful photographs reveal valuable information in such geoscientific fields as agricultural sciences, geology, oceanography, meteorology, forestry, land use studies, environmental sciences, cartography and many other uses.

    The photography and explanations give you a chance to fly in space and see it as the astronauts do.


    American astronauts have observed and photographed the earth from space for over 30 years. During this "short" period, their photographs reveal an Earth with a rapidly changing environment. It is a deteriorating environment and the rate of deterioration is accelerating. The synoptic view of the Earth from space shows many sources, causes, and the extent of the problem. Contributors to the worldwide problem can be complex industrial societies as well as the most primitive of cultures. From space, we can see such phenomena as:

    • Deserts rapidly expanding because of social customs.
    • Large lakes disappearing off the face of the planet.
    • Airborne dust blown around the world.
    • Tropical rivers drying up.
    • Acid rain destruction.
    • Tropical rain forests cut down and burned.
    • Ocean dumping, a major problem.
    • Air pollution.
    • Water pollution.
    • Weather changes due to industrialization.
    • Uncontrolled erosion.
    • The socialist nation problem.
    • Oil field fires.
    • Natural phenomena.
      And the list goes on!



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