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  Lunar TV developer Stan Lebar (1925-2009)

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Author Topic:   Lunar TV developer Stan Lebar (1925-2009)
Robert Pearlman
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posted 12-23-2009 10:58 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Stan Lebar, Apollo Lunar Camera Developer, 1925-2009

Stan Lebar, who led the development of the Apollo lunar camera used to transmit live television from the surface of the Moon, died on Tuesday, December 22, of a cardiac arrest after a 17-year battle with cancer. He was 84.

The following profile appeared on the Newseum's website about the lunar camera:

Stan Lebar led the Westinghouse Electric Corporation team that developed the lunar camera that brought the TV news images of Neil Armstrong stepping onto the moon to more than 500 million people on earth. Two media milestones were reached: a world-record audience, and the first-ever live TV from another heavenly body.


Credit: NASA

Lebar came the Westinghouse Aerospace Division with a talent for motivating people and a background in electronic optics and circuitry, radar, microwave systems and antenna design. Lebar managed 75 Westinghouse engineers and technicians and more than 300 manufacturers for five years to develop the state-of-the-art lunar camera.

The team needed to shrink a 400-pound studio camera to a 7-pound hand-held unit that astronauts could simply point and shoot. A million dollars and scores of innovations later, a brand new camera was born. The Westinghouse team had to design, develop, manufacture, and test nearly every component -- from the camera tube to the cable connector. To do it, they pioneered integrated electronic TV circuitry.

There would be no Pulitzer Prizes for moon-landing coverage. This was TV's event, all the way. On behalf of his Westinghouse team, Stan Lebar accepted the Emmy Award in 1970 from the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, for "Outstanding Achievement in Coverage of a Special Event."

Lebar's secret to success? He was adamant: More than anything, this camera had to be reliable. It was one of the few items aboard with no backup. If it hadn't worked, the chance to unify the world -- at least for a few moments -- would have been lost.

In addition to Apollo 11's lunar camera, Lebar also managed the Apollo color TV, Skylab series and Apollo-Soyuz Test Project camera programs. He retired in 1986 after a 33 year career with Westinghouse.

Most recently, Lebar helped lead NASA's search for the original Apollo 11 telemetry tapes in the hopes of using them to produce a clearer, higher-resolution version of the television images that his camera transmitted back to Earth. The tapes believed all-but-certainly lost, Lebar helped oversee NASA's effort to restore the best quality recordings available of the Apollo 11 moonwalk.

This past July, Lebar's son, Scott, recounted his father's words for the Sacramento Bee explaining that the restored footage would complete his legacy:

"For me, that's like the last piece of the puzzle, and I've done what I felt was important. To pass on the best version of the telecast for posterity that will be shown and viewed for hundreds of years into the future."

Stan Lebar in July 2009 refers to his lunar camera at the Newseum. Credit: collectSPACE

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Thanks Stan.

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Godspeed.

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