Stuff I Didn’t Know About This Image of India

I am passionate about anything that is even remotely related to space, and this one has stuck with me since schooldays. So, as a kid from India in the 80s’, I would ponder endlessly over this satellite imagery on the back of my geography textbook probably the 6th or 7th grade, that showed the Indian peninsula alongside the island nation of Sri Lanka. All along I was curious to know the origins of this photo, like, who captured it? What was that strange pole? etc., and I was thrilled to have stumbled upon a NASA website carrying this information.

India - Gemini 11 Photo

Picture of peninsular south India was taken from space in the 60s!

So this image was taken by the Gemini 11 crew (Conrad-Gordon) on September 14, 1966 “using a 70 mm lens on a modified Hasselblad film camera”, and I don’t know why but it somehow made it to the geography school textbooks in India and into my inquisitive mind. And as I discovered later, that “strange pole” in the picture is the “7-FT Retractable L-Band Boom Antenna” from the Agena Target Vehicle.

Source: India by Night and Day : Image of the Day