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Apollo 11 liftoff – 40 years ago today

July 16, 2009
The crew of Apollo 11

The crew of Apollo 11

There are several things of interest out there for the 40th anniversary. NASA is replaying the mission audio in real time here. There is a re-creation by the John F. Kennedy Library here, but it broke my browser the first time I went into it, and now it’s stuttering. Good idea and gorgeous imagery – I hope it works for you.

The best thing is that some restored video from the moon walk is now available. Apparently the original was accidently erased so the tapes could be reused. (While it seems to a lot of people that NASA has had unlimited amounts of money – it’s much more of a shoestring operation than you might think. That’s why we’re still launching using 45-year-old crawler-transporters, and in a lot of places at KSC, nobody cuts the grass.)

From what I read, these tapes were found at a college in Perth, Australia. The downlink of the video came to the Australian station. From there the signal was compressed to be send to the US. There was no direct hookup to the TV networks – they literally turned a TV camera on the video screen in Mission Control! That’s why the video looked so bad – lending itself to the conspiracy nutjobs in the process.

Raising the flag!

Raising the flag!

The new version is significantly better, within the limits of a special-built camera that had to withstand the trip to the moon, operate in a harsh, airless environment of great heat and great cold, and work with no human intervention – using late 1960s technology. I’m glad NASA has made these available. Check them out.

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