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hugo
 Post subject: Apollo forgotten?
Posted: Mon Dec 18, 2006 7:45 am 
 
Captain

Joined: Mon Jan 10, 2005 7:13 am
Posts: 5
Location: the Netherlands
In the 'On this date' item of december 18, 2006 is the following message:

'1977: Voyager 1 took the 1st photograph of the Earth and the moon together.'

No doubt that the Voyager probes (still working after 30 years in space and now the most remote man made objects in space) are impressive examples of US space engineering.

However, this item shows how easily earlier projects are forgotten. In 1968 NASA launched Apollo 8, the first manned spacecraft to circle the moon. As a 13 year old boy I was glued to the TV to see the images transmitted by Borman, Lovell and Anders. They also made stunning pictures of 'the first earthrise seen by man'.

Look at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apollo_8, and see the real first photo of earth and moon together.


 
   
 
Kirt Blattenberger
 Post subject:
Posted: Tue Dec 19, 2006 9:52 am 
 
Site Admin
User avatar

Joined: Sun Aug 03, 2003 2:02 pm
Posts: 878
Location: Erie, PA
Greetings hugo:

Thanks for pointing that out. I remember what a big deal it was when the photo was first seen. In fact, and you probably know this, the image adorns a commemorative postage stamp from the era.

Image

One time an avid U.S. stamp collector (still have everything, just no time now to pursue), I have plate block and first day cover of the issue, and might even have a full sheet.

There are rumors of NASA resurrecting the Saturn V booster - or something like it, to do the heavy lifting for space projects where the complexity of a Shuttle is not required. Wouldn't it be nice to watch a Saturn-type launch again? Unlike the Space Shuttle launches, which accelerate so quickly that the craft is out of sight in mere seconds, the old Saturns sat and shook the Cape while the rocket slowly made its way up past the launch pad as it "slipped the surly bonds of Earth."

Of course unlike 30 years ago when you got to watch the liftoff once during live transmission and maybe again on the evening news, today we can watch them live, on a dozen cable news channels, on the NASA Channel, on multiple space-related websites, on YouTube, or from on our own recorded media (hard drive, CD, DVD, etc.). We can even slow it down to take as long as a Saturn launch.

Take care.

_________________
- Kirt Blattenberger :smt024
RF Cafe Progenitor & Webmaster


 
   
 
hugo
 Post subject:
Posted: Fri Dec 22, 2006 8:02 am 
 
Captain

Joined: Mon Jan 10, 2005 7:13 am
Posts: 5
Location: the Netherlands
Hi Kirt,

OK, the entry for december 22 set it right:

1968: The 1st U.S. live telecast from a manned spacecraft in outer space was transmitted from Apollo 8, and the famous "Earthrise" photo was taken.

However, this is not quite correct:

1. There was a live TV transmission from Apollo 8 on this date, but at that time the spacecraft was in transit to the moon, so the Earthrise photo was taken on a later day. A quote from wikipedia:

It was as the spacecraft came out from behind the Moon for its fourth pass across the front that the crew witnessed an event never before seen—Earthrise. Anders glanced out the window and saw a blue and white orb and realized it was the Earth. Instantly the crew understood that they needed to take a photograph of this. Anders took both the first photograph, which was black-and-white, and then later the more famous color photo. (end of quote)

2. The first live TV transmission was from Apollo 7, launched october 11 1968. In 1963 Gordon Cooper had broadcast slow scan television pictures from Faith 7. It can be debated if this was a live TV broadcast.

3.


 
   
 
Kirt Blattenberger
 Post subject:
Posted: Fri Dec 22, 2006 9:50 am 
 
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User avatar

Joined: Sun Aug 03, 2003 2:02 pm
Posts: 878
Location: Erie, PA
Greetings hugo:

As is typical with these kinds of topics, finding multiple instances of conflicting information is common - especially on the Web. It is easy to find dates ranging from December 22, 1968 to December 24, 1968 for the origin of the Earthrise photo. Even on various NASA sites I found credit for all three dates.

After a little more research, it seems impossible that December 22 was the date of the photo. According to the official Apollo 8 flight log from NASA, "Orbit insertion took place on 24 December at 09:59:20 UT" (4:59:20 am EST). http://nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov/database/MasterCatalog?sc=1968-118A That means, of course, that the photo could not have been taken before then. So, I will change the date in my listing - thanks.

Regarding the live television broadcast, according to this NASA website (the only one I could find with an actual time stamp), http://history.nasa.gov/SP-4029/Apollo_08a_Summary.htm, "Two of the six live television transmissions were also made during translunar flight. The first was a 23-minute 37-second transmission at 031:10:36." That is mission elapsed time, so with liftoff at "12:51:00 GMT (07:51:00 a.m. EST) on 21 December 1968," the transmission would have occurred 31 hours and 10 minutes later, or around 3:00 pm on December 22, 1968.

Thanks for giving me the motivation to investigate this more thoroughly. With no exaggeration, I sometimes spend an hour or more each evening researching all of the event dates that are listed on the homepage. Since beginning the validation efforts back around June, I have had to remove or revise many of the topics. A lot of incorrect information has been identified, but many of the topics are eliminated because I cannot locate a source that I consider authoritative enough to justify keeping it up. I want to be certain that information is not just regurgitated from other websites; that is why all the surviving events have hyperlinks to my sources. Take care.

_________________
- Kirt Blattenberger :smt024
RF Cafe Progenitor & Webmaster




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