Honeysuckle, Apollo 11 & TV from the Moon

Monday 21st July 1969 Australian time

Background to
where the Apollo 11 Lunar TV broadcast was received.

Duration: 8 min 31 sec. Stereo sound.

Also available as a lower resolution 38MB MPEG4 video file.

The above video file is a modified extract from the DVD “The Moonwalks as seen at Honeysuckle Creek” – Super 8 movie footage taken at Honeysuckle Creek during Apollos 11, 16 and 17).

With thanks to – Mark Gray for the NASA Archive video; Ed von Renouard for the Super 8 footage; The Australian Broadcasting Corporation and John Sarkissian for the Australian broadcast footage; Mike Dinn for the Honeysuckle Creek ‘Alpha’ and Net 2 audio.

See also this side-by-side comparison of the NASA Archive footage and Ed’s Super 8 footage of Armstrong on the ladder (5.7MB MPEG4 file).

Please see the menu at left for more video. (No menu?)

At the time, the most watched television event in history was Neil Armstrong stepping onto the Moon.

The Australian movie “The Dish”, released in 2000, tells the story of how the TV from the Moon was received by CSIRO’s 64 metre Parkes Radio Telescope.

While ‘The Dish’ was just a movie (and a very enjoyable one at that!), all who watched it will have been left with the impression that Parkes was the sole source of TV from the Moon.

That is not correct.

Houston relayed Goldstone’s TV to the world until just before Armstrong set foot on the lunar surface. The switch was then made to Honeysuckle Creek, and it was through this Manned Space Flight Station the world saw the First Step.

After nearly 9 minutes, Parkes came on line and provided high quality television for the rest of the EVA.


Parkes Radio Telescope.

Photo: Keith Aldworth.

Honeysuckle Creek.

Photo: Hamish Lindsay.

All who worked at Honeysuckle, Tidbinbilla and at Parkes did so as part of a larger team. There was no ‘competition’ to be first – either then or now.

However, it is important to explain what actually happened – not to diminish the excellent work done by John Bolton and his team at Parkes – but simply to get history right.

And it’s important to be fair to those who actually provided all of those breathtaking television images to the world.

In this section, then is an account of what happened on Monday 21st July, 1969 – as well as other information on how live TV from the Moon came to the people of Earth for the very first time.