Audio of the Apollo 16 Mission –
as recorded at Honeysuckle Creek


The Apollo 16 Lunar Landing

HSK audio Hear the Apollo 16 lunar landing

as recorded at Honeysuckle Creek from the network (Goldstone was prime for the landing).

Hear John Young and Charlie Duke as they descend towards Descartes

– starting at about 104:26:40GET, until just after landing – from a compact cassette recording made at Honeysuckle during Apollo 16 by Bryan Sullivan.

The 560kb mp3 file and runs for 4min 33s.
Digitised by Colin Mackellar.


See also these SRTs at Honeysuckle during Apollo 16.

Honeysuckle Creek Operations Supervisor John Saxon speaks with the crew of Orion

Before EVA 2, comms lines from Houston to Honeysuckle are lost, though lines from Honeysuckle to Houston (via Goddard) are not affected.

Sitting inside Orion and having their beakfast, John Young and Charlie Duke have been discussing with Capcom Tony England the upcoming EVA. It takes a little while for it to become obvious that they aren’t hearing anything back from Houston.

In order to inform the crew what is happening, Honeysuckle’s Operations Supervisor, John Saxon, pushes his ‘Press to Talk’ Switch to send his voice to the transmitter, becoming the only Australian to speak with someone on the Moon.

The audio from Orion is very poor quality due to the problems they were having with Orion’s steerable high-gain antenna. When inside the Lunar Module, comms used the omni directional antenna which resulted in a much noisier signal.


John Saxon writes:

“Even though it was exciting to finally get to talk to the Apollo 16 lunar surface crew, I have always felt somewhat embarrassed about the conversation. Particularly when I read the transcript. The conversation was somewhat strained to say the least. It was mostly due to the very poor down voice signal to noise ratio, making it very hard to understand.

What you can’t hear are my almost simultaneous conversations on several other voice loops to get NASCOM (GSFC Voice and Deakin) to sort out the (one way) voice problem.”

HSK audio Hear John Saxon speak with John Young and Charlie Duke

John Saxonon the lunar surface. Recorded at Honeysuckle Creek.

Read the background in Hamish Lindsay’s essay.

The 7.5MB mp3 file runs for 10 min 14s. (John’s segment starts 2 min 55 sec in.)

A shorter 3.6MB version, with much of the silences removed, is available here.

Another recording – this one made at Houston – shows that Houston was calling, but the lines to Honeysuckle had been lost. (This recording courtesy of Eric Jones’ Apollo Lunar Surface Journal.)

John says that this copy of the Honeysuckle recording was put onto cassette from the FR1900 recorder for him by John VanderKly.

Here’s the transcript:

Saxon: “Orion this is Honeysuckle. We have a comm outage with Houston at this time. Stand by one, please.”
Young: “Okay, Honeysuckle nice to talk to you. How are ya’ll all doin’ down there?”
Saxon: “We’re doing great. Nice to talk to you.”
Young: “You sound good.”
Saxon: “Roger that – We’ll be with you shortly, we are just getting some lines reconfigured here.”
Young: “Have a Swan for us.”
Saxon: “Say, again, Orion. You’re pretty poor quality on this back up.”
Young: “I said quaff a Swan for us.”
Saxon: “Ah – I still can’t copy you, Orion. Sorry about this, the quality is very poor at the moment.”
Young: “Okay you’re loud and clear.”
Saxon: “Roger that, I read you a bit better now."
Duke: “Honeysuckle, what John was saying was have a Swan for us.”
Saxon: “Oh, Roger.”

(John Saxon calls Houston Comm Tech again on Net 1 – he cannot hear any reply. John’s voice is being heard in Houston.)

Saxon: “Orion, this is Honeysuckle – We’re still having trouble with the incoming from Houston. We should get it restored very shortly for you. Sorry about the delay.”
Young: “Roger, thank you.”

Saxon: “Okay, we’re reading you this time for a change.”
Duke: “Okay you guys are nice to talk to. We don’t care about Houston.”
Saxon: “Thanks very much. Certainly appreciate it. It’s a pleasure working on this mission.”
Young: “Roger. We’d sure like to come down there and see you folks after this is over too.”
Saxon: “Right you’ve got a permanent invite, anytime you like.”
Young: “That’s very kind.”
Saxon: “We will keep the beer cool for you.”
Young: “You’ve just got a couple of fellas going to show up on your lawn here.”
Duke: “That’s the best idea I’ve heard all day.”
Saxon: “I think it’s a pretty good one down here too.”
Duke: “You see in my terminology friendly 48 packs, right now that’s how I feel. Really love one.”
Saxon: “Roger that. We’re still having difficulty with the comm, Orion. Hopefully, very shortly, we will get the net up for you.”
Duke: “Okay – take your time, don’t worry about it – we’re eating.”
Saxon: “Don’t worry Orion, we are worrying!”

The lines from Houston were restored a few minutes later.

A Swan is poured for John Young

A Swan is poured for John Young

At the 25th anniversary of Apollo 11 celebrations in Canberra, in 1994, John Saxon finally has an opportunity to share a Swan Lager with John Young.

Top: The beer is poured as Captain Young watches.
Bottom: The two Johns salute each other.

Photos: John Saxon.


Back to the Apollo 16 section.