On July 20, 1969, astronauts Neil Armstrong (1930-2012) and Buzz Aldrin (1930 ) landed for the first time on the Moon during the Apollo 11 Mission. The Moon landing filmed by the astronauts by themselves was broadcast live around the world. A sixth of humanity at the time witnessed the first steps of the Man on the Moon through the television screen. The TV Footage is the photos taken from images broadcast on television.
The NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) is an independent American government agency whose mission is in space and aeronautical researches. The agency was created on 29th July, 1958 to manage civilian Space programs depending on the U.S. Army. The NASA inherit the functions and infrastructures of the NACA (National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics). NASA is nowadays the most important spatial agency in the world. Vintages photos of the epic moment that was the space race have therefore a documentary, historic and esthetic values.
The Mission Apollo 11 wrote the three names: Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, and Michael Collins in Human History. For a long time, like Da Vinci, Jules Verne, and many others, the human being dreamed of going to the Moon. Apollo 11 realized this dream by marking the first steps of the Man on the Moon in 1969.
Apollo 11 is the legendary mission of the Apollo program launched by NASA in the 1960s. The objective of the mission was perfectly described by Neil Armstrong’s famous phrase when his visit to the Moon was broadcast live in front of millions of viewers. "It’s a small step for man, a giant leap for humanity". Three American astronauts, Neil Armstrong, Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin, and Michael Collins, carried out this mission from July 16 to 24. And they returned safely to Earth.
When Michel Collins piloted the Commande and Services Module (Columbia) while in orbit, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin landed on the site called "Sea of Tranquility”. They spent 2 hours 31 minutes outside the Lunar Module (Eagles). During this short time, they installed all the ALSEP (Apollo Lunar Surface Experiments Package) scientific instruments, collected 21.55 kg of soil samples, and put commemorative plaque as well as the American flag on the surface of the Moon. The photographs taken by the astronauts themselves with the Hasselblad camera have become emblematic and valuable documents of the Era of Space Conquest.
The TV Footage is the photos taken from images broadcast on television.
On July 20, 1969, people around the world gathered in front of their television to witness the Apollo 11’s Moon landing. For scientific reasons, the two astronauts, Neil Armstrong (1930-2012) and Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin (1930 ), filmed by themselves the journey on the Moon. The black-and-white images of Armstrong and Aldrin, who were walking on the moon, were provided by a small camera, Super-8.
However, the data from the camera were not compatible with television broadcast standards, such as NTSC (National Television System Committee). The conversion process was therefore required to broadcast images on the Moon to audiences around the world. NASA used a scan-converter to adapt images electronically to the US television standard signal. For this, the three tracking stations, the CSIRO Parkes Radio Telescope and the two NASA stations at Honeysuckle Creek in Australia and Goldstone in California respectively, played a key role. They received signals from the Moon via SSTV (Slow-Scan Television). The SSTV is an image transmission method. It transmits and receives static images in black and white or in color by radio signals. As well as the SSTV integrates an image into audio data. When receiving raw data from the Moon, the tracking stations recorded them on the telemetry tapes for backup. Because it was possible that the TV show would be unsuccessful or that the Apollo project would need these data in the long run. These SSTV tapes were then converted to a standard format and sent to the Mission control in Houston. Unfortunately, the conversion resulted in much lower image quality than the originals.
Houston transmitted the converted tapes to broadcasting stations. As a result, all events on the Moon have been broadcast live internationally. More than 6 million viewers shared this historical moment. Notably, at CBS (Columbia Broadcasting System), American journalist Walter Cronkite (1916-2009) and former astronaut Wally Schirra (1923-2007) commented on this historic event at that time.
-NASA lost the original tapes of Apollo 11?
In 2006, The Sydney Morning Herald reported that NASA had lost the original SSTV tapes on Apollo 11 containing high-quality images. Indeed, the tapes were recorded as a backup in case the live television broadcast would be unsuccessful for any reason. Fortunately, the live television broadcast was successful and widely recorded. Preservation of this backup data was therefore not considered as a priority at that moment. In the early 1980s, NASA’s Landsat program (the first Earth observation space program for civil purposes) encountered a great lack of data tapes. Because of this shortage, it is likely that the SSTV tapes on Apollo 11 were erased and reused at that time for other programs.
After reporting from the Australian press, NASA formalized a project for searching the lost tapes of the Apollo 11 mission. Although NASA has carried out tireless research, it has been widely accepted since 2009 that the original tapes no longer exist. During the research, only scan-converted records were found in various archives around the world. Currently, these records have been digitized through NASA’s technology.