Leica has sent its mirrorless SL system camera into space on board a NASA rocket to document the space agency’s research, the company has announced.

The Leica SL launched on a NASA RockSat-X rocket from the Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia in August tasked with documenting the flight and its research into high-density particles.

The Leica camera was chosen for the mission by students of the University of Puerto Rico, who are conducting the research, because of its robust build quality and Ultra High Definition (4K) video capability.

Special control algorithms required for the Leica SL on its mission were programmed in collaboration between the students and Leica Camera AG.

Before the launch, Leica and NASA tested the effects of the extreme conditions on the SL camera and its optical systems.

These experiments, within the framework of an ongoing joint research programme with the participation of the university and the Bifrost Corporation, are aimed at gathering performance data to use for a planned mission to investigate the Aurora Borealis.

Before the flight, the Leica SL had to undergo an extensive programme of NASA tests to prove its resilience, including balance and the effects of extreme environmental influences, to mass moment of inertia testing and vibrations with exceptionally high acceleration forces of up to 50 gravities continuously.

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