TV From the Moon – Apollo's Live TV cameras


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TV From the Moon - Apollo's Live TV cameras



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What would have been like if the Apollo moon landing hadn’t been televised live to about 600 million around the world, would it have had the same impact?. In fact it was touch and go as whether of not live TV would be used and it was down to Neil Armstrong as the commander of the lunar lander if it would be used. But to get live TV from the moon was a technical challenge in it’s own right, so in this video we look at the TV cameras and the corporate battle to get the landing in to the front rooms of millions.

This video is sponsored by Blinkist

Written, Researched and Presented by Paul Shillito
Images and footage : NASA, RCA, CBS, Westinghouse, Semifluid.com, Kevin Gallegos, EEVblog2

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47 Comments

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  1. I run a small business selling electronic kits and modules, I have many smart customers. One day about 10 years ago I had 2 guys walk into my store. I am always curious where people come from and what they did so I ask. They were on holidays from Florida and planned their trip so they could stop in as they had purchased from me in the past. I asked them what they did, they mentioned they were both retired and I asked from what, they stated they worked for NASA on the moon landings. I was full of questions not really knowing enough to engage them but for the first time I guess in over 40 years they started to talk about it. I guess when they left the departments they worked in, they never spoke 1 word, to anyone or each other, not one. As I am getting their order together one guy looks at the other and says, "my team always wanted to know how you solved this "XYZ" problem", i did not hear what the problem was, but I did notice the other guys reaction, he stood up straight and said, "we never did". Then he said "my team always wanted to know how you solved this "ABC" problem, the other looked at him and stated, we never did. At that point they both looked confused and started discussing between each other, how did the mission go forward if these problems had not been solved. I can still see them going out the door, deep in conversation about the issues. I have to say I look at things very differently now, then I did when I was 10 years younger and this is one of those things that just makes you wonder, what if? Imagine that no department communicated with another department directly, no discussion, sharing information through others, how prone is that to interpretation, or mistakes in drawings, formulas or measurements? Has anyone else ever done anything complicated with all of those barriers? Interesting how its only now in the 2000's that we are able to land craft vertically with MEMs sensors reliably. Forever in our thoughts Gus Grissom, Edward White, Roger Chaffee , to the Moon and beyond!

  2. The video cameras were designed for very low light level conditions as well as 'extended red' sensitivity, so why do you also say the lunar surface was very bright? There are no published values for near or far side surface illumination figures in Lux, but on Apollo 8 they did use a spot meter on the sunlit portion of the far side and obtained readings of between 160-320 lumens. The Lunar surface is much darker than theoretical values based on the Suns visible light output (135,000 lumens), surface albedo and the inverse square law. There are also no surface illumination levels available for Mars, Venus or Mercury, and all mapping of Mercury has been performed in the near IR.

  3. That’s the condensed and inaccurate video clip of Armstrong’s first step. It shows him jumping off the lander onto the footpad, but then has him saying the one step quote before he stepped onto the lunar surface.

  4. The Apollo 11 camera, mounted in the equipment bay door of the LEM, which flipped down like a drawbridge, was active before Neil Armstrong crawled out and climbed down the ladder on the landing leg. As I recall, though I could be wrong since it has been 52 years, the first few minutes of the live broadcast showed a sideways image because of the way the camera was mounted. The image became upright and more comprehensible a few minutes later when Armstrong removed the camera from the equipment bay and mounted it on the tripod. This isn't evident in the videos shown today, because the converted images rotated the first portion of the transmission and that's all that the last couple of generations have ever known.

  5. There is no temperature in space as we know it. Our understanding of temperature is based on natural convection which is totally absent in the vacuum of space. There is only radiation cooling and heating. Designing for these factors is very different than designing for convection. It would not have been possible to design a camera to the power and weight constraints of Apollo if space really had the “temperatures” you stated.

  6. So we didn't see the actual first steps on the Moon.
    A camera was brought out first, then Neil climbed down the ladder and said his famous words.
    ??

  7. For me, space travel is the fight which will determine the outcome for mankind. I do not see the union of man within the international set up of the space station. We are not united. The white man will dominate space and eliminate all other races because the white man first stepped foot on the man. Mars is the aim and the goal and it will be inhabited by the new world order.

  8. I have read that the inclusion of live TV cameras was prompted by a NASA-chartered Norman Rockwell painting in the mid-1960s showing the prospective first step onto the moon by a hypothetical astronaut. Rockwell on his own showed a TV camera — actually inside the LEM pointed by the other astronaut — televising the step. It is said Rockwell wanted live TV coverage to happen and by showing a camera, he committed NASA to it.

  9. fake asf people still beleive thgis garbage…so 1960's live streams with 0 delays..phone calls from the president with 0 delay? lol….fake fake fake Red hot chilli peppers….space was made in the hollywood basement!

  10. I can't get cell service in the mountains in 2021 and you want me to believe they had video from the Moon in 1969!
    Yet nobody's been back to the moon in over 50 years !!!

  11. moon landings are completely fake.
    if you actually went into space you would instantly die, because your body REQUIRES earth's gravity to function properly. your blood wouldn't flow properly for example.
    There's a reason laika the dog died in space and its not what "they" tell you, he died from lack of gravity. even the ISS is a complete hoax.
    The former nazi scientist Von Braun knew all this, thats why he wanted to build a rotating space station that would create a fake gravity by spinning. he knew space travel would be impossible otherwise.

  12. How can someone so intelligent not see that it is impossible, especially with 1960's technology to transmit television live from the moon?If it was possible now we'd have a webcam to watch earth on the moon.

    The power required far exceeds what they had available on the alleged moon landings.

    The video was not live but a pre recorded video projected onto a screen. None of the tv stations had a feed, but had to simply film the projection screen.

  13. So fake. Where's all the sand on the landing feet at ? Those rockets kicked up so much dirt that there's no sand on top of them what so ever. Look at the pictures you'll see. When they walked around and kicked up the sand it was all over their space suits. This was made inside a movie studio out of one of the building they have out West.

  14. G'day Paul, We didn't have any colour TV transmission, here in Australia, in 1969; it didn't come till the mid 70s. However, I vividly remember seeing the 'live' transmission from the moon on a small but high quality B&W TV that we had at the time. We all thought the images from the moon were amazing; in no way were we expecting a high-res image. Looking back, of course, we can see it's shortcomings but, at the time, we thought it was almost as miraculous as the moon landing itself. We were well aware of the contribution Australia made via its Honeysuckle Creek and Parkes installations and, I've read, that were it not for the Australian part of the network, the world would have missed out on the first part of Neil Armstrong's historic stepping onto the lunar surface.
    It's almost unbelievable that there were those at NASA who actually thought these pictures were not important. One has to wonder what other amazing achievements might have been held back from the public given that literal 'short-sightedness'. Thank you so much for the story of how we got to see those pictures in the first place. Young people might well be unimpressed by these images from the 60s now, but I can assure them that the entire world was utterly in thrall of the US astronauts. It was a troubling time for humans back on Earth at the time and, happily, the lunar missions seemed to have a positive effect of drawing humanity together, especially when we all saw the pictures of Earth from the perspective of the moon. For a short time it compelled most people to think about a world without borders and international squabbles. It was a great time to be alive. Cheers, BH

  15. The technological quantum leap that took place between 1961 & 1969 was the most magnificent, transcendent & amazing in history to transpire within such a brief space of time, just unbelievable, unreal & mind bending! Mind blowing!

  16. You are forgetting that the Nazis had cameras the size of a shoe box to fit in the tip of their missiles, much smaller than anything anyone else was using at the time.

  17. Oh really! Enough already with this nonsense. I will believe this when they repeat the process in a controlled monitored demonstration here on Earth. Yet NASA never does. Why?

    Here’s another relevant question: Why did they project the images onto a wall? We know the nonsensical pseudo scientific reason, but the problem is that it was actually done for propaganda purposes. They were aware that if the images were too good, people wouldn’t believe them…!

    Yet we’re still being fed this nonsense.

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