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Apollo TV and MSTV.

PostPosted: Wed Sep 01, 2021 9:01 pm
by Steve Anderson
The early Apollo moon-missions used a unique and custom TV system, at first in monochrome, later in colour. It was a mish-mash of a system using either 320-lines at a 10Hz frame rate, or a Hi-Def mode of 1280-lines (very familiar now) at 0.625Hz, i.e. 1.6sec/frame. I don't think the HD mode was ever used on actual missions though. In either mode the video needed to be kept within a 500kHz bandwidth, that's all the Moon-Earth link had available for video.

In my mind it's not quite 'TV', nor SSTV, more like a higher resolution version of NBTV, the frame rate isn't that dissimilar. In the absence of any thing else - MDTV (Medium Definition TeleVision), though that could encompass many others.

The fundamental baseband video parameters are below, 'Click' as usual. It used a 'Sync Burst' rather than a pulse, other than the modification of line/frame frequencies , amplitudes and a few other details, it should be quite familiar. This data is only for the monochrome system, aside from the colour system, (same as early US CBS colour), using a RGB motor-driven sequential arrangement I have very little info.

We all remember (though perhaps I should say 'some' now) the quality of the results, not exactly stellar! One day I'll have a go at reproducing 320/10 for no other reason than why not? Maybe then we can see what could have been. Though that's easy to do in no time at all - convert a JPG to monochrome, resize to 428x320 (3:2 aspect ratio) and that's what could have been (without the 500kHz filtering). But that's not fair on those lumbered with the time/cost/reliability/operational constraints.

Steve A.

Also conversion from 320 to 525 had to be done on Earth, then in most of the world 525 to 625, or 405 which is how I saw it live on TV. I was 13 at the time...

Apollo B+W TV 320.gif

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Re: Apollo TV and MSTV.

PostPosted: Fri Sep 10, 2021 5:32 am
by Lowtone
converted to 819 too at that time.

Here is an interesting clip of camera failure on the moon


Also this website that shows eveything, picture of the 320 line monitor, super 8 footage of it, schematics of the transmission system.


Re: Apollo TV and MSTV.

PostPosted: Fri Sep 10, 2021 11:53 am
by Steve Anderson
Lowtone wrote:...and converted to 819 too at that time.

Oops, I forgot about 819, sorry...

Here's two links which are related to the Lunar Orbit craft that took hi-res photos of proposed Apollo moon landing sites and the discovery and restoration of the tapes. Unlike Apollo 11, these tapes were found... ... Found.html

Some of the embedded links within the sites may or may not work...they've been up for years with little or no maintenance...

Steve A.