Mike’s Blog: Relive Apollo 11 in real time

At this time 50 years ago, Apollo 11 was on its way to the moon. Want to follow along as if the mission were happening right now? You can. Find out how here.

At this time 50 years ago, astronauts Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, and Michael Collins had just launched from atop the 363-foot Saturn V rocket that cost $42 billion in today’s U.S. dollars and were hurtling through earth-orbit space as the first-ever manned mission to the moon. An estimated 1 million spectators watched the launch from the vicinity of NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, while around 25 million viewers watched it on TV just in the U.S.

Members of the Kennedy Space Center government - industry team rise from their consoles within the Launch Control Center to watch the Apollo 11 liftoff through a window.Members of the Kennedy Space Center government - industry team rise from their consoles within the Launch Control Center to watch the Apollo 11 liftoff through a window.NASAJuly 16 marked the start of the 50th anniversary of the nine-day Apollo 11 mission that resulted in the first humans setting foot on the lunar surface on July 21, 1969, and their safe return home. I’m sure almost every day in July so far you’ve seen news headlines commemorating Apollo 11 and taking a look back at the extraordinary effort that made it a success. And while there are plenty of sources for footage of the mission—either from news stations or from NASA itself—one of the coolest ones I found, just a day ago, gives you the ability to relive the mission in real-time. Apolloinrealtime.org/11 gives you the option to watch the mission beginning T-minus 1 minute from launch, or instantly view it in real-time. Both options livestream mission audio feeds, as well as live mission status data including mission phase, crew status, vehicle velocity, and the command module’s distance from earth. The livestream also streams video when appropriate footage is available, along with mission photos and quotes from mission personnel. One of the website’s coolest features is the live transcript feed of the astronauts and mission control, so even if the audio is a bit hard to decipher at times, the transcript follows right along.

You can check out the full real-time experience at that URL, or if you want a quick sample, I’ll make it easy for you and embed the YouTube livestream below.

Since Apollo 11’s mission occurred well before I was born, I can only relive it through 50-year-old video and audio footage. I’m thankful such an all-encompassing offering like Apollo In Real Time exists to at least give me an idea of what it was like for viewers to follow along in 1969. I’ll definitely be checking back into the livestream frequently over these next nine days, and especially on July 21.

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