Apollo 13 Re-entry radio coverage


I recorded these audio clips from ABC Radio as Apollo 13 neared re-entry into the Earth’s atmosphere in the early hours (Australian time) of 18th April 1970.

All rights of the Australian Broadcast Corporation are respected. Much of the audio is ‘the Voice of Apollo’ from NASA Public Affairs.

With special thanks to the ABC for their kind permission.

In 2005 I was pleased to be able to present these and other recordings to the ABC Archives, as apparently their copies had been lost. – Colin Mackellar.

Hear LM jettison – as the Command Module nears re-entry.

On this, and the clip below, Bernard Scrivener from the Department of Supply gives expert commentary (Bernard has been Admin Officer at Honeysuckle Creek until he moved to that role at Tidbinbilla in January 1970. One of his jobs was to be a media contact and was often called on to explain what the stations were doing) – along with ABC Science Unit journalists Dr. Peter Pockley and Michael Daley.

500kb mp3 runs for 1 minute 23 seconds.

Hear the description as Apollo 13 streaks across Australia.

The clip starts with Apollo 13 crossing the Western Australia coast near Carnarvon and ends just after the start of blackout, with the Command Module out over the Pacific.

This recording gives a sense of the amazing speed of a spacecraft returning from the Moon.

How did Peter Pockley know where the spacecraft was? Dr. Pockley didn’t recall when I asked him in 2010, but it is likely that Bernard Scrivener had produced a map on the basis the data Mike Dinn requested from Houston in the first audio clip on this page. - CM.

Bernard Scrivener comments that while the deep space antenna at Tidbinbilla will have some difficulty keeping up with the spacecraft as it streaks across the sky, both Carnarvon and Honeysuckle Creek will be able to follow it ‘right over the hill’.

Honeysuckle Creek is the last tracking station to track Apollo 13. (ARIA aircraft picked up communications as blackout ended.)

(There are some brief continuity breaks, since I was running out of tape. - CM.)

5.2mB mp3 runs for 10 minutes 52 seconds.