Astronaut Wally Schirra, a camera enthusiast, bought the Hasselblad 500C at a camera shop in Houston, Texas, in 1962, complete with an 80mm Zeiss Planar f/2.8 lens.

Schirra (pictured below) is said to have carried the kit into orbit aboard the Mercury-Atlas 8 rocket mission.

He stripped the leatherette from the body and painted its metal surface black to reduce reflections, according to the Hasselblad website.

Pre-mission modifications also included the installation of a 100-exposure film container, according to Boston-based RR Auction, which is set to sell the camera on 13 November.

The Hasselblad 500C and the same lens, were also used by astronaut Gordon Cooper on the next Mercury space flight.

The sale includes two signed letters from Cooper, said to attest to the camera’s authenticity.

‘It was interesting to note that when astronaut Walter Schirra brought that first Hasselblad camera into space, it was the only product in the space capsule that had not been custom-built for the mission,’ adds Hasselblad.

‘First’ Hasselblad camera in space. schirra.web.Image taken with the ‘First’ Hasselblad camera in space. schurrapic2.web

Images showing the ‘First’ Hasselblad camera in space, and an image taken with the camera