Testing the ejection and inflation of an Echo A-12 passive communication sphere in space was monitored at an altitude of nearly 200 miles by a photo instrumentation system designed and tested by Douglas Aircraft Company for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration and carried in a 850 miles high non-orbital ballistic trajectory by a Douglas Thor Vertical Test Space Vehicle. Four hundred feet of film taken from the camera in the ejected and recovered space capsule hole the key to the balloon's sudden rupture. The paper describes the needs and problems anticipated during the various phases of the mission of Project "Big Shot" as follows: Boost; free-flight and photo mission; re-entry; aerial recovery; saltwater impact; and flotation and retrieval. It explains the design criteria to be met for the film camera to record the anticipated event with the highest possible image quality and for the film to survive the mission environment. The paper closes with a description of the two-part test program consisting of the environmental qualification of two test cameras and the flight acceptance tests of three flight cameras.