1201 Alarm – The moon landings as we saw them


Back in 1969 on a hot July night, I watched ghostly pictures beamed back live from the surface of the moon as two Americans left the Lunar Landing Module (LEM) and became the first men to set foot on a celestial body, other than the Earth. In 1961, at the age of eight, I had become aware that the space travel I’d seen on t.v. was in fact a fiction and the reality of Yuri Gagarin’s first orbital flight filled me with wonder and awe. From then on, I followed the space race, bought books, magazines and souvenirs. By 1968 I was recording the sound track of the t.v. coverage of the Apollo programme on reel-to-reel tape recorders and photographing images from our then 405 line, black and white t.v. set. By the time of the first moon landing I was filming the t.v. with high speed standard 8mm movie film.


These experiences were to lead to a life in science and technology for me, and an archive of film and audio recordings that I still have to this day.


The Project

The Apollo 405 project will take this analogue archive and digitise it so that it can be shared and people can experience the space race in the way it was experienced in the 1960s.

Project Outcomes:
Technical – We’d like to find a way to make home scanning of 8mm movies possible. There are commercial services which will transfer 8mm to video files, but we’d like to devise a way of doing this at home. We feel that this would be a unique outcome of the project and something that would empower student and amateur film makers. Our plans are to devise a film scanning system based on stop motion animation using a smart phone.
Sharing – A key objective of the project is to share this archive on line. This will be social media but also access to DropBox for larger, longer media content.

Socialogical – After an initial review of the materials, it’s striking that science and technology was reported very differently in the 1960s. Greater time and depth was given along with a different emphasis on its impact.

Science outreach – We’d like to devise ways that the digitised materials can be used as part of science outreach and engagement and hopefully inspire a new generation.

Crowd funding – We’ll shortly be launching a crowd funding campaign to fund the project. If you are interested in contributing or just following what we do, please leave your email below and we’ll keep you up to date.