The story of the TV cameras used on Apollo 11

On a strictly personal basis, there was a lot more at stake for Lebar. He’d been informed by corporate management that if the [Apollo 11] camera failed for any reason, he would be the Westinghouse employee that would have to stand in front of the cameras and reporters and explain to the world why there was no video [of the moon landing].

via TVTechnology: TV’s Longest Remote.

Westinghouse's $1 million lunar camera
Westinghouse’s $1 million lunar camera

This fascinating story is from a 2009 post at the above site, and it’s brilliant. It goes into some of the technical and personal difficulties – and triumphs – involved in manufacturing a camera that would reliably broadcast the first pictures of man setting foot on the moon.

As usual with stories discussing the technology of the Apollo missions, the details are staggering in two ways: that so much was achieved, and with such primitive gear (by today’s standards, at least).

The story also touches on the radio telescope at Parkes, Australia, which was able to receive and re-broadcast better quality images than was possible via US-based receiving stations due to the position of the moon at the crucial time.

Incidentally, the story of Parkes’ impromptu involvement in bringing the moon landing to the whole world is explored in great detail in The Dish, a lovely film from 2000 starring Sam Neill. For fans of Apollo 13, and sugary-sweet period flicks.