Apollo 6 was the final unmanned Apollo test mission of the giant Saturn V rocket that would take astronauts to the Moon. The photographic mission of Apollo 6 was to photograph a whole orbit of the Earth in a vertical sequence, which would begin at the end of the first orbit near New Orleans and terminate at the end of the second orbit over Baja California.
An automated 70mm still camera was mounted in the Command Module of the Apollo 6 vehicle to take some spectacular color stereo photographs. The photographs were taken every 9 seconds, giving sufficient overlap between frames to precisely cover the entire orbital path.
These were later found to be excellent for cartographic, topographic, and geographic studies of continental areas, coastal regions, and shallow waters. The camera photographed sections of the United States, the Atlantic Ocean, Africa, and the western Pacific Ocean, and had a haze-penetrating film and filter combination that provided better color balance and higher resolution than any photographs obtained during the Mercury and Gemini flights.
Read more: The Legacy of Apollo 6, NASA.
The camera responsible for this extraordinary panoramic view was recovered with the capsule in the Pacific Ocean. The images were taken about 220 km above the Earth as the spacecraft orbited southeastward (from left to right in the image) over the Gulf of Guinea (including the island of Principe) and the Atlantic coast of Gabon and Equatorial Guinea near the Bay of Mondah, Libreville, Cape San Juan (visible to the right edge of the panorama). The width of the ground track photographed is about 160 km. Sun glint is visible over the Atlantic Ocean.