Apollo 9 Slow Scan television



There were two brief television transmissions from Apollo 9’s Lunar Module, “Spider”.

Apollo 9 used a Westinghouse Black & White Lunar Surface Lunar TV Camera. Identical to the one taken to the lunar surface on Apollo 11, it produced a 320 line, 10 frames per second non-interlaced picture.

Photos of the slow scan TV as it was seen at Goldstone Tracking Station show the high quality of the picture.

Subsequent scan conversion to NTSC degraded the picture. By the early 2000s, the only available copies were of even lower quality.

The comparison below illustrates the difference between the original slow scan TV (at right) and the scan converted recording (left) of the TV available today.

SCTV
SSTV

Scan Converted

Screen capture by Bill Wood of CBS archive (the only known recording?) – via the Spacecraft Films Apollo 9 DVD set.

Slow Scan picture – Goldstone

Goddard Public Affairs photo
scanned by Bill Wood.

1. Rusty Schweickart (left) and James McDivitt during the second TV broadcast from the Apollo 9 LM ‘Spider’.

The caption on the back of the (right hand) photo of the slow scan TV frame says it was taken at the Apollo Goldstone Tracking Station at 11:00am PST on March 6, 1969.

 

These Polaroid photos of the Slow Scan TV were taken by Goddard Space Flight Center’s Don Witten.

He travelled to Goldstone in late February 1969 to capture these images using a Slow Scan monitor set up in a Public Affairs trailer.

Unless noted, the photos below are courtesy of Don Witten.

 

Goldstone 1969

The famous Zzyzx Road sign on The Mojave Freeway. The car is heading south about 10 miles from Baker and about 65 miles from Barstow. (See this Wikipedia article on how Zzyzx got its name. Thanks to Bill Wood.)


Goldstone 1969

Goddard Public Affairs Officer Don Witten arrives at Goldstone – February 28th, 1969.


Goldstone 1969

Don in the Public Affairs trailer at Goldstone Apollo.

Behind him is the Fairchild slow scan monitor with a Polaroid camera mounted. It’s an identical setup to the one he used at Honeysuckle Creek during Apollo 8.


Goldstone 1969

The Public Affairs trailer is visible here at left in front of the Goldstone Apollo operations building.

Photo: Bill Wood, 15th March 1969 – just after Apollo 9 splashdown.

Large, Larger (2MB).


SSTV

2. Rusty Schweickart (left) and James McDivitt during the second TV broadcast from the Apollo 9 LM ‘Spider’.

Large, Larger.

This photo preserved by Richard Nafzger,
scanned by Colin Mackellar, May 2011.

 

Click each image for the full resolution version. The SSTV scan lines are clearly visible.

(Bill Wood has also provided tweaked versions to reduce the moire effect when seen on some displays.)

SSTV

3. Rusty Schweickart (left) and James McDivitt during the second TV broadcast from the Apollo 9 LM ‘Spider’.

Click the image for the full resolution scan.

Image tweaked by Bill Wood.


SSTV

4. Rusty Schweickart and James McDivitt broadcast from Apollo 9.

Tweaked image.


SSTV

5. Rusty Schweickart and James McDivitt broadcast from Apollo 9.

Tweaked image.


SSTV

6. Rusty Schweickart and James McDivitt broadcast from Apollo 9.

Tweaked image.


SSTV

7. Rusty Schweickart and James McDivitt broadcast from Apollo 9.

Tweaked image.


SSTV

8. Rusty Schweickart and James McDivitt broadcast from Apollo 9.

Tweaked image.


SSTV

9. Rusty Schweickart and James McDivitt broadcast from Apollo 9.

Tweaked image.


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