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Original Audio of Apollo 13 Incident, in Real Time

By Steven Lloyd Wilson | Miscellaneous | January 6, 2014 | Comments ()


NASA Lovell.jpg

I like to give SyFy a lot of trouble, mostly for their inability to use vowels correctly, failure to broadcast almost any real science fiction, and their inexplicable attachment to Ghosthunters and professional wrestling, but one thing I’ve always liked about their website is the willingness to spend pixels on items of real historical import touching on space and science. That’s all really apropos of nothing to do with the news here, just a tip of the hat on this news, since tomorrow I’ll probably be mocking them again.

In any case, this lovely video today was created by a YouTube user (not our own lovely Harry Hanrahan, but you can’t have everything), stitching together a couple of different audio tracks from different sources, and some videos that serve mostly just to give the listener something to look at. It’s the original archived audio from the Apollo 13 incident, about an hour in length, starting a couple of minutes before the explosion and running through the initial troubleshooting and figuring out of what to do. And to my mind at least, it’s more gripping than the eventual movie (which was no slouch itself).

The audio tracks (put onto left and right of the stereo, respectively to give an intuition who’s talking) are what was on the ground crew audio and what Apollo 13 itself was sending back to Houston, which gives a round and real-time picture of the entire incident.

I can’t vouch for the validity though, I mean none of these guys sound anything like Tom Hanks or Ed Harris.

Things like this? This is why the Internet is different. Not stored in archives where no one but researchers will ever see it, instead our history is restored in new ways and laid out for anyone to see. All of our history becomes oral history, always but a question away, always being reconsidered and reevaluated instead of being enshrined in tomes and monuments. It’s a gorgeous thing.

(source: Blastr)




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Comments Are Welcome, Bigots and Trolls Are Not


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  • Green Lantern

    Awesome. Thanks for posting this, Steven!

  • gutpunchprod

    NASA actually has an album on Spotify called 'The Apollo Missions' which includes all the Apollo 13 transmissions as well as the others 7 through 17.

  • This is fantastic.

  • Cheetahdriver

    Thanks to SLW for this. I remember when it happened, and this is a great window on highly intelligent people trying to calmly work the problem while the SM is coming apart. Gene Kranz may have been sweating bullets, but you would never know it as he keeps his flight crew calm and guided. Sy Liebergot, EECOM under enormous pressure to start coming up with answers and looking at a board that is showing most of the SM is dead or dying keeps level and never defensive.

    NASA from when giants walked the earth..

  • BWeaves

    I remember everyone around me being quiet, as if that would help. The entire world held its breath until they were safely back on the ground.

  • Jim

    Shhhh, Syfy lost their vowels in a tragic Scrabble accident that we're not supposed to talk about. It's too soon. {wipes a tear} Just .... too soon.

  • BWeaves

    Too soon? I thought that was the plot of Zyzzyx Road ?

  • Wōđanaz Óðinn

    That accident was staged by their legal department after they discovered they could be held liable for not meeting the RDA % of Sci-Fi. It's a place-holder name that will be used until ichthyology and meteorology merge into one branch of science and legal gives the all clear.

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