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Super-8 Clips of Apollo 16 Honeysuckle-Only TV

Super-8 clips copyright © 2006 by Ed von Renouard
Digital conversion organized by David Woods.
Digital presentation of the clips copyright © 2006 by Colin Mackellar.
Text adapted from A Tribute to the Honeysuckle Creek Tracking Station; copyright © 2003-2006 by Colin Mackellar
Additional analysis by Eric M. Jones.
Last revised 14 October 2013.

Ed von Renouard worked as a video tech at NASA's Honeysuckle Creek Tracking Station during Apollo. For Apollo 11, he operated the Slow Scan console where the 10 frame-per-second / 320 line TV signal was received from the Apollo spacecraft. He also operated the Scan Converter, which converted the lunar TV to the US TV standard of 30 fps and 525 lines. The Scan Converter was not needed during later missions. After Apollo 11, the station had two video techs - Ed alternated with Nevil Eyre who is seen wearing the checked shirt 50 seconds into the Apollo 16 video clip. A Honeysuckle photograph shows Neville at the Slow Scan Console during Apollo 17. Colin Mackellar writes "Ed von Renouard tells me that even though they didn't have the equipment for assembling the sequential colour at HSK (all that was done in Houston), they were able to display it in colour on a frame-sequential colour monitor at HSK locked to the green field.".

Ed von Renouard at the video console

Ed von Renouard at the HSK video console during Apollo 12.
(Click on the image for a larger version.)

On occasion, Ed used his Super-8 movie camera to film the monitor at his console so that he would have an Apollo souvenir.

Ed von Renouard and his Super 8

Ed von Renouard using his Super-8 movie camera
during one of the later Apollo missions.
(Click on the image for a larger version.)

In 2005, Ed rediscovered the footage he'd shot. Along with some of the best records of the Apollo 11 moonwalk that we have - and possibly the only surviving record of the Apollo 11 PLSS jettison - he also had three short clips from a brief period early in Apollo 16 EVA-3 when the TV signal could not be sent outward from Honeysuckle.

Briefly, Houston expected that John and Charlie wouldn't be ready to turn the Rover TV camera until after a handover had been made from Honeysuckle to Madrid. Consequently, although Houston had audio from Australia, their communications lines were configured to get TV thru Madrid and no one outside the Honeysuckle Station was able to see the first 8 minutes of the TV transmission.

In the following, readers should recall that at 118:06:31, NASA advanced the mission clocks by 11:48 seconds. At two places in Ed's film clips, we see a digital clock displaying Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) on the top line and Ground Elapsed Time (GET) on the second line. Times give in the Journal are 11 minutes 48 seconds behind the displayed values of GET.

HSK Timer at GET 116:13:15

Ed filmed this view of the GMT/GET timer well after after Madrid acquired the Apollo 16 TV signal. The top line shows GMT given in day of the year, hours, minutes, and seconds: 114:15:55:28. The bottom line shows the GET in hours, minutes, and seconds: 166:13:15. The corresponding Journal time (11 minutes 48 seconds earlier) is 166: 01:27. HSK Engineer Bill Waugh is in the foreground.

To set the scene, at Journal time 165:41:51, John is busy with the UV astronomy camera. Charlie is farther along than John in the timeline and, consequently, decides to power up the TV, a job that John would normally do. Charlie does not have the detailed procedures in his checklist and does a minimal power up.

At Journal time 165:42:57, Charlie reports the LCRU signal strength is 4 - meaning that it is transmitting at full strength - and that he has set the Mode Select Switch to position 3. The audio signal being recorded in Houston improves dramatically and, at about this time, the TV signal would have been visible in the TV monitors at HSK.

At Journal time 165:43:25, Charlie asks Tony England if they have a picture in Houston and, once Tony tells him that they won't have a picture for another five minutes, Charlie probably goes to John's seat to unload the Equipment Transfer Bag (ETB). Charlie may move away from the LCRU at Journal time 165:43:38, when he tells Tony that "all the battery covers were open." John opened the battery covers at the end of EVA-2 and, from the internal evidence of the Super-8 clips and the dialog, it is unlikely that Charlie closed the battery covers.

Ed von Renouard's three Super-8 clips shot prior to signal acquisition by Madrid have been combined in a single, 56-second-long video file, which is available in two formats:

MP4 Super-8 Clips ( 56 sec )

Quicktime Super-8 Clips ( 56 sec )

Late in EVA-2, at the time John opened the battery covers, he aimed the TV down at the base of the high-gain-antenna mast. At the start of Ed's first clip, we see that the camera is now aimed horizontally but is still centered on the high-gain mast. The battery covers can be seen in the upright, 'open' position just to the left of the mast.

After filming the TV monitor for a few seconds, Ed pans left to show his colleagues at work. He then pans right, past the TV monitor. As he does so, we catch a glimpse of an astronaut elbow at the lefthand edge of the screen. This is almost certainly Charlie, emptying the ETB at John's seat.

Charlie's elbow

This view at about 0:14 in Ed's first Super-8 clip shows Charlie's elbow on the left side of the TV monitor. Screen grab by Colin Mackellar. Slightly earlier and slightly later screen grabs are also available.

Ed's rightward pan continues until we get a partial view of the GMT/GET timer, which is showing GMT 114:15:3x:x and GET 165:xx:xx. The partial GMT value tells us that GET must be between 165:47:47 and 165:57:47. The corresponding Journal times (11 min 48 seconds earlier), are 165:35:59 and 165:45:59. This range is consistent with our inference that Charlie started working at John's seat at about Journal time 165:43:38.

At Journal time 165:44:14 tells Charlie that "they've got a good picture at Honeysuckle."

A minute later, at 165:45:16, Tony asks Charlie to put the LCRU Power switch to Internal. Charlie replies that "John can get that, he's right there." The first clip has probably ended by this time.

As mentioned previously, Charlie did not have the TV procedures in his checklist and, now that John has finished with the UV camera, he has joined Charlie at the left front of the Rover to double check what Charlie did. The procedures are on John's cuff checklist pages CDR-27 and CDR-28. After switching LCRU power to Internal, John would have closed the battery covers, which he reported at Journal time 165:46:53. At the start of Ed's second Super-8 clip, we see that the battery covers are closed and we see John working on the righthand side of the TV image. A close examination of his right hand during this clip shows that he is probably not holding the dustbrush - which we see him using in Ed's third clip - suggesting that he may be tidying the LCRU covers at about Journal time 165:46:57, immediately after he closed the battery covers. He may also be noticing that, as he tells Tony, he got dust on the LCRU mirrors when he closed the battery covers.

Ed's third Super-8 clip is a distant shot of the TV monitor, which is at the upper right. In the clip, John is clearly using the dust brush on the LCRU mirrors and on the TV lens. He probably finishes dusting at about Journal time 165:47:40.

As mentioned previously, Madrid acquires the TV signal at Journal time 165:51:02. Consequently, Ed's three, brief Super-8 clips may be the only surviving visual record of this portion of Apollo 16.

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