Thursday, May 12, 2016

Stan Lebar - setting the record straight

When I was researching "Live TV From the Moon" and "Live TV From Orbit" I spent every third or fourth day on the telephone with Stan discussing all things Apollo TV development. He was a good friend, an inspiration, and I certainly miss him. It was thanks to his enthusiasm that I ventured into research about Skylab. The Apogee books Mission Reports are a testament to this interest.

It is with a sickened heart that I see a particularly misguided dutch individual taking Stan's comments made on July 16, 2009 and spinning them to make it appear Stan was trying to blow the lid on a consiracy taking place.

Here is a response I directly addressed to the individual making the claims, and he has conveniently ignored them in an attempt to trump up his fabricated "conspiracy". I can only surmize his continued usage of his false assertions is meant only as a provocation. A provocation which is then convoluted into allegations that I am a stalker or whatever it is he feels like accusing me of this week.

Here is what Stan was concerned about. This information he openly told to the world prior to 16.7.2009, and in numerous (not one but numerous) conversations with me. He knew from Testing in Maryland that the WEC SSTV camera had decent resolution and contrast ratio. The had conducted all their tests on a vari-sync monitor which could handle the 10fps without the need for smcan conversion. The only need for that scan conversion was to make that electronic signal compatible with the NTSC standard. While WEC had developed their own scan converter, the decision was ultimately made to use the RCA built converter. This used a frame buffer disk recorder and a hi-res monitor and a TV camera. Settings like brightness, gamma, and contrast could be adjusted on the RCA unit.

When the signal first arrived once Armstrong had released the MESA, and Aldrin had put the circuit breakers in to power up the camera, you can clearly see it was correctly set, although upside down. As has been reported ad nauseum, the Goldstone scan converter operator panicked with the upside down picture, thinking the signal levels were out of whack, and proceeded to adjust them (in reality completely ruining them). If you watch the same feed as seen in Australia, this does not happen as the HSK crew had their settings correctly programmed.

What Stan was concerned about, being several hundred miles away from GDS was how the signal could look so bad, when he knew the camera had much better signal output than what he was seeing in MOCR. He was not aware (nor was anyone else at the time) what the GDS operator had done. The signal dramatically improves when the feed is changed to HSK, and further improved several minutes later when Parkes came into the signal footprint.


This is what prompted him and a group of several people, myself included, to look for the Telemetry Tapes - to see what difference those recorded TV signals may have to the scan converted archived images.

Leonov makes no mention of the camera settings. So no, he is not talking about the same thing as Stan. Had you any shred of intelligence it would have been that obvious to you from the day you watched those two seperate clips.

I am speaking from direct involvement, not extrapolating alleged wispers, whimpers or whatever the frak you think your revolutionizing the world with. I spoke directly to Stan about this. He didn't mince words and he didn't speak cryptically. That's your sole domain.

Monday, February 8, 2016

Skylab and ASTP Mission Reports

Those who know me, or at least know of me, should be aware that I am working on additions to the fine Apogee Books line of Mission Reports! The books contain the official NASA press kits, mission reports, and crew debriefs of each mission. They are supplemented with high quality photographs and illustrations. As is standard with all Apogee publications a bonus DVD is included with loads of goodies to complement the text.

The subsequent Skylab Missions of SL-3 and 4 are being prepared as I write this, and will include all you ever wanted to know about the post-Apollo missions on the orbital workshop. Additionally, this Skylab series will be capped of with the Apollo Soyuz Test Project Mission Reports.

Currently, Skylab 1 & 2: The NASA Mission Reports is available from



Monday, August 15, 2011

Wilfull Idiots Mark 2

I was hoping to write something cool and nerdy about the Live TV book part2, but the curse of the wilfully ignorant hoax nut reared its head again. Apparently being a network consultant doesnt automatically grant you intelligence.
A fellow who apparently is an IT network specialist on youtube can't get his brains around the fact the the GCTA was remote controlled, or that Ed Fendell practiced response times on the GCTA while the LM was still resting on the lunar surface. On top of that, he also seems to have problems understanding how an analogue TV tube could possibly suffer burn-in despite being shown analogue TV recordings from 15 years later showing the exact same problem.

Oy gevalt

Tuesday, January 4, 2011


I recently had the soul-sucking horror of "debating" someone on Youtube. They claimed the Apollo 12 TV camera had a vidicon tube and could not have burned out so quickly by being pointed at the sun. I was accused of not having read one iota of documentation regarding the camera (I guess I dreamt the 5 1/2 years I spent researching the cameras developed and used on Apollo, along with speaking with Stan Lebar specifically about the tube) and it was painfully obvious the idiot I was arguing with had absolutely NO idea who I was. Given I was also accused of never having read "Live TV From the Moon", I can rest easy in calling that person exactly how I see them: a full fledged wilfully ignorant idiot. How very, very disturbing.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Faux-pas in the book

You know, you can read over the text 5 million times, yet there is always something that leaks through the cracks. "Live TV From the Moon" is no exception. Sure, typos are virtually impossible to avoid, but I did make sure that the facts always remained as such. However, on page 27, paragraph 2 I erroneously state that there were 7 manned Mercury flights, not 6!

I have no idea how that got through: I can only guess I was thinking "7 astronauts" and so 7 I wrote. As Billy Joel sang, "You're only human!"

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Moon Hoaxers

Did I mention that I have low tolerance for such folk? The most recent idiotism I have read by one of them is regarding "Live TV From the Moon". Apparently because it contains "From the Moon" in the title it makes it a claptrap of government shill propaganda. Never mind that I used documents and articles from sources that have absolutely nothing to do with NASA, nor that cameras tend to work the way they are described independantly of whether NASA changes the laws of physics or not. I'm apparently the essence of evil, and all because of the racy title of my book.

On top of that if you look at youtube and the fine folk (sic) that post comments there, you still get classic questions like "who filmed Armstrong coming down the ladder?" (geeze I don't know but I suspect its the same sorry camera operator who stands behind your webcam everytime you turn it on).  Apparently, despite working in the TV industry for 20+ years, I was never made aware that a person needs to actually stand behind the camera in order for it to work. I can only imaging the closed loop circuit meltdown their brains would have if they dared look at the Sky News studios in Sydney.

Sometimes I fear my efforts in documenting how the cameras which were used on the lunar surface actually worked have come too late.

Monday, August 16, 2010


After getting up at 3am to have my time coincide with the fine folk over at Spacevidcast, I succesfully  albeit tiredly completed two hours of the most fun interview I have ever done.

Check it out at

I urge you to sign up for their Epic content. They are a small outfit supplying the best space news updates in video format in the world. Their success depends on your support, and with your support they will only get better.

You know how we all complain about things today not having any passion behind them? Well the spacevidcast people have that and a whole lot more! I kid you not. I discovered them a few months back completely by accident, and it was a priveledge for me to appear on their show.