50 Years After the Moonwalk: Looking Back at Apollo 11’s Broadcast from the Moon

Fifty years ago, the Apollo 11 spacecraft left the launchpad and began its mission to the Moon with astronauts Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, and Michael Collins. Previous posts on the Unwritten Record covered the intense training undertaken by the prime crew, including 1/6th gravity simulations and lunar lander flight tests spanning several months leading up … Continue reading 50 Years After the Moonwalk: Looking Back at Apollo 11’s Broadcast from the Moon

Gearing Up for Launch: More Scenes from the Apollo 11 Training Program

Previously this blog covered a few aspects of training performed by the Apollo 11 prime crew in preparation for the mission to the Moon. This time we’ll dive deeper (literally, as you’ll see below) into Apollo 11 astronaut training. We last featured the use of the KC-135 reduced-gravity aircraft for simulating the 1/6th gravity of … Continue reading Gearing Up for Launch: More Scenes from the Apollo 11 Training Program

Beyond Astronaut Ice Cream: How Consumer America Engineered Food for Space Exploration

What do corporations like Pillsbury and Whirlpool have to do with Apollo 11? Quite a lot, as it turns out. In fact, many consumer corporations contributed to the success of the moon landing. For example, engineers at Playtex designed the Apollo spacesuits and Westinghouse provided the cameras that transmitted video signals back to Earth. Pillsbury … Continue reading Beyond Astronaut Ice Cream: How Consumer America Engineered Food for Space Exploration

Shooting the Moon: Photos of the Lunar Surface and Beyond

On August 26, 1966 an image graced the front page of the New York Times under the headline, “How the Earth Looks from the Moon.”  The image was of such low quality that the grey sphere which all of mankind calls home was barely recognizable.  Nevertheless, the photograph was remarkable.  For the first time, humans … Continue reading Shooting the Moon: Photos of the Lunar Surface and Beyond

The Measure of a Screen: Motion Picture Aspect Ratios in the Archives

Take a look at the two movie screens in the photos below. Notice anything different? The screen in the color image, photographed in 1998, is much wider than that in the 1946 black-and-white image. Each screen has a different aspect ratio. Merriam-Webster defines motion picture aspect ratio as “the ratio of the width of a … Continue reading The Measure of a Screen: Motion Picture Aspect Ratios in the Archives

Spotlight: The Launch of Sputnik 1

Sixty years ago today, October 4, 1957, the Soviet Union sent into orbit the first artificial satellite, Sputnik 1. The beach ball sized satellite, weighing 183.9 pounds, took 98 minutes to orbit the Earth on its elliptical path. Sputnik's launch captured the world's attention and caught the American public off-guard. They feared the Soviets' ability … Continue reading Spotlight: The Launch of Sputnik 1

“God Speed, John Glenn”

With the passing of former astronaut and U.S. Senator John Glenn on December 8, 2016, the country lost the last of the seven men who constituted the original astronaut team for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). Glenn, Alan Shepherd, Virgil Grissom, Gordon Cooper, Scott Carpenter, Walter Schirra, and Donald Slayton were chosen to … Continue reading “God Speed, John Glenn”

This Week in Universal News: Apollo 1 Disaster

On January 27, 1967, the first Apollo mission ended in disaster. Fire broke out during a launch rehearsal, killing pilots Gus Grissom, Ed White, and Roger Chaffee. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KjEnIqcMQ3I From the release sheet: ASTRONAUT DISASTER Apollo astronauts Roger Chaffee, Edward White, and Gus Grissom are all killed in a flash-fire aboard their grounded space capsule. Investigators … Continue reading This Week in Universal News: Apollo 1 Disaster