TV from the Moon

parkes_apollo11_stil.jpgWhile NASA is recreating the entire Apollo 11 mission to the moon via a web portal, there is other information surfacing that, not only has NASA recovered the original downlink videotapes from the mission (instead of the blurry kinescopes of the actual first step on the moon) there’s also information on the web that describes, in laborious and scientific minutiae the details that enabled the live television broadcast from the moon itself.

What format did the camera use, how was it converted for broadcast, what antennas were used and a whole lot more. Great reading for those gearheads out there. 

Here’s the Parkes Observatory, Austrailia, account of their support for the NASA Apollo 11 mission.

The lunar television camera was a black-and-white, slow-scan TV (SSTV) with a scan rate of 10 frames-per-second at 320 lines-per-frame. It weighed 3.29 kg (7.25 lb) and drew 6.5 watts of 24-32 volts of DC power. The camera body was 26.9 cm long, 16.5 cm wide and 8.6 cm deep (10.6 x 6.5 x 3.4 inches). The bayonet lens mount permitted lens changes by a crewman in a pressurised suit. Two lenses were provided: a wide-angle lens for close-ups and large areas, and a lunar day lens for viewing lunar surface features and activities in the near field of view with sunlight illumination. 


And the New NASA Apollo 11 site:


And just for giggles (because it’s so far fetched to me) there are three twitter feeds:

  • Apollo 11 to Houston = AP11_Spacecraft
  • Houston to Apollo 11= AP11_Capcom
  • Eagle to Houston & Columbia = AP11_Eagle


One thought on “TV from the Moon

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  1. More info I missed originally:

    WASHINGTON — NASA will hold a media briefing at 11 a.m. EDT on Thursday, July 16, at the Newseum in Washington to release greatly improved video imagery from the July 1969 live broadcast of the Apollo 11 moonwalk.

    The release will feature 15 key moments from Neil Armstrong’s and Buzz Aldrin’s historic moonwalk using what is believed to be the best available broadcast-format copies of the lunar excursion, some of which had been locked away for nearly 40 years. The initial video released Thursday is part of a comprehensive Apollo 11 moonwalk restoration project expected to be completed by the fall.

    The Newseum is located at 555 Pennsylvania Ave. N.W. The news conference will be broadcast live on NASA Television and streamed on the agency’s Internet homepage.

    Participants in the briefing will be:
    — Richard Nafzger, team lead and Goddard engineer
    — Stan Lebar, former Westinghouse Electric program manager
    — Mike Inchalik, president of Lowry Digital, Burbank, Calif.

    For NASA TV downlink information, schedule information and streaming video, visit:

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