Apollo 7 Television Planning


Starting in April 1968, NASA planned to take a television camera into space onboard Apollo 7, and to send back live pictures.

The black and white slow scan camera had been in development by RCA for some time. (It was a 320 line. 10 fps camera. The Westinghouse Lunar Surface Camera taken to Tranquility Base on Apollo 11 used the same television format. It had been specified by NASA to save on video bandwidth.)

As well as the development of the camera, NASA’s Engineering and Development Directorate produced prototype scan converters – one was moved from KSC to MILA (the Merrit Island Launch Area Tracking Station, adjacent to Kennedy Space Center), for the mission, and the other was installed at the Texas Apollo station in Corpus Christi.

Goddard’s Dick Nafzger, who was present at Corpus Christi during Apollo 7’s TV broadcasts, was responsible for the implementation of much of the plans for receiving television from Apollo 7, and making the converted picture available to the US TV networks in real time.

Dick preserved the documents in the PDF file below, which was scanned by Bill Wood during the Apollo 11 Tape Search.

The documents give a feel for the amount of plannig necessary to get live television from Apollo 7 and out to the watching world.

They also give a feel for the huge advances achieved in the succeeding months – with live colour television coming from lunar orbit on Apollo 10, and live slow scan televsion coming from the lunar surface on Apollo 11.

The last few pages of the PDF file also set out NASA’s Public Affairs plans to make live television available to the networks, beginning before launch.



Apollo 7 Television planning documents – preserved by Dick Nafzger, scanned by Bill Wood.

4.7MB PDF file.


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