Book Review: Live TV From the Moon

A new book chronicles the greatest show on Earth—and off it

2 min read
Book Review: Live TV From the Moon

Live TV From the Moon
By Dwight Steven-Boniecki, Apogee Books, 2010; 248 pp. (plus DVD); US $25.95; ISBN: 9781-926592-16-9

If the moon landings of four decades ago had never been televised, would they have had the same impact? It’s doubtful. We may not want to admit it, but television made the Apollo missions historic. The funny thing is, those images might never have been seen at all. The NASA of the early 1960s considered television an annoying distraction from the serious science it was pursuing. It wanted no chance of failure for the big prize.

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Two men fix metal rods to a gold-foiled satellite component in a warehouse/clean room environment

Technicians at Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems facilities in Redondo Beach, Calif., work on a mockup of the JWST spacecraft bus—home of the observatory’s power, flight, data, and communications systems.


For a deep dive into the engineering behind the James Webb Space Telescope, see our collection of posts here.

When the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) reveals its first images on 12 July, they will be the by-product of carefully crafted mirrors and scientific instruments. But all of its data-collecting prowess would be moot without the spacecraft’s communications subsystem.

The Webb’s comms aren’t flashy. Rather, the data and communication systems are designed to be incredibly, unquestionably dependable and reliable. And while some aspects of them are relatively new—it’s the first mission to use Ka-band frequencies for such high data rates so far from Earth, for example—above all else, JWST’s comms provide the foundation upon which JWST’s scientific endeavors sit.

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