Fascinating Recording of Apollo-11 At Jodrell Bank Released

August 26th, 2009
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It has been mentioned here before that the landing of Apollo-11, as well as other Apollo missions were not only monitored by the official NASA communications and telemetry stations, but also by a number of amateur and professional facilities operating in an unofficial capacity. One of the most capable of these facilities was the Jodrell Bank Observatory in North West England. Despite having one of the largest radio telescopes in the world, Jodrell Bank was not an official tracking station for NASA’s Apollo missions. Instead, the European portion of the receiving network was located at the Madrid Deep Space Communications Center.

Jodrell Bank had, however, provided critical data reception and tracking for the Soviet Luna program. Early on in the Soviet program, the Soviets lacked the capability to reliably receive the weak signals from the tiny probes and therefore had to rely on Jodrell Bank to provide tracking and reception capabilities – an uneasy relationship during the Cold War. By 1969, however, the Soviets had upgraded their tracking stations and improved the transmitters on their lunar probes. However, Jodrell Bank continued to track and observe Soviet probes even after its services were no longer critical to the program. In 1969, The Lovell Telescope at Jodrell bank was the largest fully steerable antenna in the world (today it is the third) and thus was capable of providing greater signal gain than anything the United States or Soviet Union had.

On July 20 1969, the scientists at Jodrell Bank were simultaneously observing two dramatic events. The Lovell Telescope, their largest, was receiving signals from the Soviet Luna-15 probe, which was supposed to land just hours after the Apollo 11 landing. Rumors had been floating that Luna-15 carried a sample-return spacecraft that was intended to beat the US in getting the first lunar soil and rock samples back to earth. Having had experience with the Luna program, the scientists at Jodrell Bank were very eager to see if the rumors were true and to observe the landing of Luna-15.

Meanwhile, even as Luna-15 was preparing to land on the moon, the Mark-II telescope, another large radio telescope on the grounds of Jodrell Bank, was tracking and receiving transmissions from Apollo-11. Audio and data from the mission was being demodulated, and although the facility didn’t have the equipment necessary to demodulate and display the video from Apollo-11, they were able to watch the transmissions via the BBC’s coverage of the events on broadcast television.

Recently an audio recording of the events on that historic night was released by the Jodrell Bank Observatory. It records the reaction of those present to the successful landing of Apollo-11 and the crash of Luna-15. It is really a fascinating account of the events and worth listening to. Sir Bernard Lovell, the founder of the Jordell Bank observatory and the director at the time, can be heard narrating the events. At one point in the recording, a voice can be heard saying “I say, this has really been drama of the highest order.” (You know how the Brits love their understatements)

It is interesting to note just how precise the measurements by Jodrell Bank were. Not only was the observatory able to receive data from the spacecraft, it was also able to pinpoint the region of the moon they were located in and to measure their speed and trajectory using measurements of the Doppler shift, combined with highly accurate signal vector and other measurements. They were even able to detect when Apollo-11 abruptly stopped descending to the lunar surface and began to climb in altitude. This was the result of Neil Armstrong taking manual control of the Lunar Module to find a suitable landing site, after noting that the site that the automated system was headed for was strewn with large boulders.

And no, I’ve never seen a good explanation for this from any conspiracy theorists, other than all the observers at Jodrell Bank must have been part of it.


This entry was posted on Wednesday, August 26th, 2009 at 2:10 pm and is filed under Conspiracy Theories, Good Science, History, media, Space. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.
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23 Responses to “Fascinating Recording of Apollo-11 At Jodrell Bank Released”

  1. 1
    DV82XL Says:

    I’m sure this has been said before in this discussion, but given the stakes (winning the space race) and the fact that this was the Cold War, if there was even an inkling that this was faked the Soviets would have been all over it like dirt. The fact that nobody from the other side of the hill for a second believes any of this conspiracy nonsense is telling.


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  2. 2
    apotheosis Says:

    DV8, surely you must know by now…at the behest of the Illuminati High Council, the Brits and Soviets were brought in as co-conspirators to convince the public that the missiles were part of a “manned space program,” instead of simply cargo containers loaded with Danegeld for the Venusian lizard aliens.

    It’s so obvious, man!


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  3. 3
    DV82XL Says:

    Silly me. I should have stopped to think for a moment before opening my mouth…


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  4. 4
    Edward Dayton Says:

    It is possible that the workers at the observatory were in kahoots with the US government over the reports. It was during the Cold War and we were relying heavily on the US for countering Russia. A big rift between the UK and US would have been a problem and I could see how the government would decide it best to play along with the US as a means of preventing an international problem. It is also interesting that the BBC lost their tapes of the landing. One should consider that the government here in Britain never even questioned the stories of moon flight. It seems a pretty big tale, but there was never any request for any kind of proof or even any healthy level of doubt in the beginning and it was assumed it was real from the beginning.

    It has since been proven that radio signals can bounce off the moon and this is the most logical explanation. The US simply sent the signals up and they bounced back. This would be the most reasonable explanation for what was picked up. Those at Jordell probably knew something was not right with the signals they got back and may have had the hunch it was from a signal bouncing back, but also knew when to keep their mouth shut on it.

    Since then the videos have fallen apart. We now know the truth. The problem is when NASA made the videos they could not have forseen that people would oneday have better qualty televisions and would be able to pause and rewind video on their desktop computer. If in 1969 you saw the videos chances are you would not notice wires and things on the television and if you did catch something then how could you double check? You could not. Not even VCR taping. So it was not as likely to be caught. Now when we catch a glimmer we can go back and freeze it and see it is a wire.


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  5. 5
    BE Says:

    LOL!

    I’ll see your scientific evidence and irrefutable proof of a moon landing and raise you bouncing signals off the moon and suspended moon props from wires!

    Awsome.


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  6. 6
    drbuzz0 Says:

    EME Or “Moonbounce” is the action of communication by bouncing radio signals off of the moon. There are many reasons why this couldn’t be used to fake a moon landing. The moon is not a very good radio reflector and therefore even with a very large antenna array, it’s difficult to do and very hit or miss. Voice contacts over EME are rare. Usually it’s done with CW (Morse code) because that allows it to be received even when the signal to noise ratio is very high.

    To try to push a good signal to the moon and back would require a super-powerful transmitter, which would easily be detected. It would have to be a multi-megawatt transmitter, if it were possible at all. That kind of power, even if it had a narrow beam, it could be easily detected out of the beam because of scatter. Any satellite or plane in the area would have their radios just about blinded and overloaded by it.

    The other thing – the moon is an imperfect reflector. It’s not flat. It’s covered with craters and that would cause the signal to not reflect back all at once. There would be some delayed reflections by a milisecond or so and that’s a big problem for television. Television is very timing-sensative. if the signal has any delayed reflections you can get severe ghosting.


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  7. 7
    Chuck P. Says:

    On top of DrBuzz0′s explination, there is a significant diference in relative velocity as a craft orbits the moon. Is is traveling away from the earth during one half of the orbit and toward the earth on the other half. This velocity difference would produce changes in the doppler shift of the recieved signal. This would be detectable and would NOT be produced by bouncing signals off the moon since the doppler shift of those signals would be esentially constant.


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  8. 8
    G.R.L. Cowan, H2 energy fan 'til ~1996 Says:

    The Doctor is astonished by the news of the wires that sharp-eyed observers have caught in the videos. He suspects they have been digitally added.

    (How fire can be domesticated)


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  9. 9
    drbuzz0 Says:

    Not only that, but with the CM and LM, you’d have the signal from one source at the velocity associated with lunar orbit and then you’d continue to have the telemetry from the CM (which you would lose intermittently as it went behind the moon) and the LM after separation. You could monitor the LM transmissions as the craft dropped from orbit and slowed down in velocity until it finally landed on the moon. Then they could detect it as it again took off and joined up with the CM.


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  10. 10
    Edward Dayton Says:

    An explaination for why the USSR said nothing is that perhaps they knew about the moon landings being faked by NASA all along and they agreed not to say anything when asked by the US and may have gotten something in return. Around this time Nixon was trying to open more diplomacy with the USSR. Maybe there was some kind of agreement – you don’t tell anyone our moon landing is fake and we agree to lower our missiles in Germany or something. They made agreements like that before


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  11. 11
    Q Says:

    @ Edward Dayton: Whatever you’re smoking must be pretty amazing.


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  12. 12
    Sky Pilot Ed Says:

    In 1969 I was only 14. I would have just about killed to have been working at a radio observatory or some place like that during the Apollo missions, especially Apollo 11. That would have been amazing, to actually be able to listen in to the transmissions and tracking the missions like that. I am sure that anyone who had access to that kind of equipment would be tracking the mission.

    That’s a really great recording. Too bad they didn’t have a movie or tv camera going too, but I guess you can’t have everything.


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  13. 13
    Topolac Says:

            Edward Dayton said:

    An explaination for why the USSR said nothing is that perhaps they knew about the moon landings being faked by NASA all along and they agreed not to say anything when asked by the US and may have gotten something in return. Around this time Nixon was trying to open more diplomacy with the USSR.

    Maybe there was some kind of agreement – you don’t tell anyone our moon landing is fake and we agree to lower our missiles in Germany or something. They made agreements like that before

    Now you’re just grasping for straws! There were some treaties and diplomatic summits and everything, but the relations were never the kind that the US would invite the Soviets to join in a conspiracy to keep a moon landing hoax to themselves. It would be too perfect for the Soviets and neither side trusted the other to get involved in that. That is ridiculous. There was always a lot of distrust which is why things like arms reduction treaties always had provisions for inspection and proof of the disarmament because neither side would take the others word for it.


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  14. 14
    Chuck P. Says:

    The mistrust between the US and USSR is evidenced in several aspects of the design of the Apollo spacecraft:
    The telescope and sextant installed in the CSM (and the telescope in the LM) were included in the design because it was thought that the Soviets might try to actively interfere with the Apollo missions by jamming radio signals. As a result, the Apollo spacecraft were given the ability to navigate (astrogate?) completely autonomously. Similarly, the ability for mission control to upload data into the AGC (Apollo Guidance Computer) was normally blocked. Deliberate action on the part of the astronauts was required to allow data to be remotely loaded into the computer (by placing the “Uplink Telemetry” switch in “ACCEPT”). This switch was specifically included because of the fear that the Soviets would try to interfere.
    The idea that the Soviets would be compliant with any attempted hoax simply doesn’t jibe with history.


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  15. 15
    G.R.L. Cowan, H2 energy fan until ~1996 Says:

            Chuck P. said:

    … the Apollo spacecraft were given the ability to navigate (astrogate?) …

    Navigate, to guide a ship. Naus, Greek for ship. If “astrogate” meant anything it might mean to guide a star.

    (How fire can be domesticated)


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  16. 16
    Burya Rubenstein Says:

            DV82XL said:

    I’m sure this has been said before in this discussion, but given the stakes (winning the space race) and the fact that this was the Cold War, if there was even an inkling that this was faked the Soviets would have been all over it like dirt.

    While most of the points (that the moon landings were real) are good, this one is not necessarily true. See Heinlein, _Expanded Universe_, “Inside Intourist” afterward. To wit, RAH, his wife, and his boss in the Navy all came up the the same number for the population of Moscow, an order of magnitude less than what the Russians claimed, by three different methods. Presumably the US Gov. knew but decided not to press the issue.

    Heinlein strikes me as someone who knew how to do math.


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  17. 17
    Rob Watkins Says:

    Sorry to nitpick on an old post, but you wouldn’t mind doing a search and replace to change “Jordell” to “Jodrell” in your article would you?


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  18. 18
    drbuzz0 Says:

            Rob Watkins said:

    Sorry to nitpick on an old post, but you wouldn’t mind doing a search and replace to change “Jordell” to “Jodrell” in your article would you?

    Yeah.. er, sorry about that. I’m not sure how it happened. Both spellings are not in the spell check, so that doesn’t help.

    I’ve corrected it, though.


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  19. 19
    Rob Watkins Says:

    Thanks for that. Being English that was like fingernails across a chalkboard ;)

    I’m not a random fly-by spell-checking anal-retentive poster by the way. I really enjoy your blog; along with BAUT, contrailscience and badscience.net you’re one of my little oases of sanity in a world I sometimes feel is descending into medieval ignorance.

    Keep up the good work!

    Rob, London, UK


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  20. 20
    Apollonaris Says:

    All you can do is encourage doubters to look for facts. But it’s no use debating with hoax believers.

    We do have moon rocks. Who tells us they are real?
    Proof of the landings is given by U.S. sources. Who cares? We need independent sources.
    Proof is given by Jodrell Bank. Who cares? Jodrell Ban kis not an independent source. After all, they could have been bought by NASA, or they could have been fooled by echoes bounced back from the Moon.
    The Soviets never spoke up. So what? There must have been an agreement between the two super powers. Having failed to reach the moon, the U.S. were in a particularly favorable position for negotiating.
    Nobody else has ever spoken up in the past 43 years. Who cares? They must have either been blackmailed or killed.
    We have photographic evidence of the moon landings. Who cares about photos? We’ve got Photoshop. And even if the equipment photographed on the Moon is real: how can we know all those devices were dropped in 1969? The U.S. had more than 40 years of time to fabricate such “evidence” – secretly of course. It is as easy to fake a moon landing before the eyes of the public as it is easy to carry out a moon landing and hide it from the public.
    You see: it will never be possible to convince a hoax believer!


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  21. 21
    Pascal Says:

    I don’t think that the people of Jodrell’s bank were part of the conspiracy, but they were not radar specialists and were easy to fool by the NASA engineers.
    I have seen the jodrell trackings and can tell you that they make no sense.
    If I analyze them, I can see that Armstrong would have been maneuvering the LM at speeds more than “supersonic” as he was looking for a spot to land on.


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  22. 22
    drbuzz0 Says:

            Pascal said:

    I don’t think that the people of Jodrell’s bank were part of the conspiracy, but they were not radar specialists and were easy to fool by the NASA engineers.

    No… they were only the operators of the world’s largest and most sophisticated radio observatory, who had extensive previous experience tracking other lunar exploration spacecraft.

            Pascal said:

    I have seen the jodrell trackings and can tell you that they make no sense.
    If I analyze them, I can see that Armstrong would have been maneuvering the LM at speeds more than “supersonic” as he was looking for a spot to land on.

    Oh great. I love it when people present evidence that can be analyzed. I can’t wait to see it.


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  23. 23
    Com a Guerra na Ucrânia ficarão os astronautas ianques perdidos no espaço? Says:

    […] plena Guerra Fria os russos mantinham uma linha direta com os ingleses. Em 1969, quando a Luna 15 ia pousar, algumas horas depois da Apollo 11, o sinal foi perdido, algo […]


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