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Author Topic:   Mercury and Gemini audio CDs
Colin Anderton
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posted 10-23-2008 05:10 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Colin Anderton   Click Here to Email Colin Anderton     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Members of the group have occasionally mentioned the lack of audio available from the Mercury and Gemini flights. Over the past few weeks, I've been sorting my audio collection, and have come to realise just how ENORMOUS it is!

Given the fact that NASA audio is free of copyright restrictions, I'm wondering if members of the group might be interested in my organising all this material, and issuing it on CDs.

Of course, some recordings would be restricted by copyright issues, so couldn't be considered for inclusion; but there's a great deal that could.

Would enough members be interested? Any ideas on pricing would be helpful as well.

SM7609
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posted 10-23-2008 10:21 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for SM7609   Click Here to Email SM7609     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
YES YES YES! That sounds like a great project -- I will help if I can as well. Email me at darra626@snet.net and we'll try to get things moving!

nasamad
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posted 10-23-2008 11:17 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for nasamad   Click Here to Email nasamad     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I'd be willing to help out Colin, I have a decent audio editing program and (a bit of) spare time to do it in.

StarDome
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posted 10-23-2008 04:43 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for StarDome   Click Here to Email StarDome     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Count me in too.

When I was in the loft today, finding the Ranger stuff and other bit's and bobs I also came across a full box of Reel To Reel tapes that were given to me a few years ago by an old guy. They have the audio from the BBC for the Apollo and Skylab Missions on them. There is also a Soviet Space film in there. Maybe Someone could help with these too? But once you have all that audio on CD/DVD I'd love to have copies.

Colin Anderton
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posted 10-24-2008 02:48 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Colin Anderton   Click Here to Email Colin Anderton     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thanks for the replies.

I started thinking about doing this when, the other day, I collected together some of the stuff I have from Scott Carpenter's flight. I didn't realise I had that much; there's the Shepard and Grissom sub-orbital flights, absolutely zillions from Glenn's mission, I've always been a bit short of material from Schirra's flight (non-copyrighted, anyway), but I've got quite a bit of audio from Cooper's mission.

I've only been working on the Gemini recordings for the past couple of days or so, and have come across absolutely tons of audio. I'm only up to Gemini 6/7, but from memory I know I have plenty of Gemini 8, and I believe the rest of Gemini is pretty well served as well.

There are also what I think may be quite hard-to-come-by bits from Apollo, such as the first engine burn of the LM on Apollo 9, the entire unedited EVA by Schweickart etc.

There would be quite a bit of work involved in all this, so it would require a good response from members.

The quality of most of the recordings is good to very good. Some is excellent.

It is nearly all in the form that was broadcast at the time of the flight, for example during Mercury there would be announcements from Mercury Control, often followed by delayed tape playbacks from recently-passed-over ground stations. For those that may not know, there were no live audio broadcasts to the outside media until Gemini 3, although I have a sneaking suspicion from memory that there might have been an occasion when they broadcast Cooper live, but I'd have to check that.

Colin Anderton
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posted 10-24-2008 03:01 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Colin Anderton   Click Here to Email Colin Anderton     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
SM7609 - I'll email you.

Adam - Thanks for the offer. However, I have audio editing equipment; this material was transferred to digital a few years ago.

Andy - If it is Skylab and ASTP, I recorded all that myself. Could there be anything else on the tapes?

If you need them checked out, I still have two reel-to-reel decks.

nasamad
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posted 10-24-2008 04:50 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for nasamad   Click Here to Email nasamad     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
No worries Colin, the offers still there if req.

Don't worry about the Glenn audio too much as the whole mission is available. Plus it might pay to take a look at the Spacecraft films Mercury DVD set as I believe they have alot of audio on them. No point in working too hard on copyrighted stuff if it is already available elsewhere!

Colin Anderton
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posted 10-24-2008 05:45 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Colin Anderton   Click Here to Email Colin Anderton     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Can I point out that the audio I'm talking about is quite different from what is on the Spacecraft Films discs. I'm referring to the actual live broadcasts from Mission Control. This is the sound that was actually broadcast live during the missions.

The recordings you are referring to, Adam, - at least as far as Mercury is concerned - were for the most part not broadcast at the time.

The recordings I am talking about give you the actual 'live' feel of the missions.

Andy McCulley
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posted 10-24-2008 07:26 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Andy McCulley   Click Here to Email Andy McCulley     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I'm in.

spacecraft films
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posted 10-24-2008 08:32 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for spacecraft films   Click Here to Email spacecraft films     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The Mercury set has all of the air to ground for MR-3 and MR-4 (each around 15 minutes), the flight director's loop from the entire mission for MA-6 (5 hours), the entire onboard recorder from MA-7 (5 hours), and the entire onboard recorder from MA-8 (9 hours). Naturally the air-to-ground is heard on the onboard recorder.

Very little of this material was ever broadcast.

Colin Anderton
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posted 10-24-2008 09:10 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Colin Anderton   Click Here to Email Colin Anderton     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Mark, if I remember correctly, the audio on the Mercury set for MR3 consists of a few bits from the on-board recorder. And most of MR4 is from the on-board tapes as well, switching to the air-to-ground a little while before splashdown. Isn't that right?

The only voice heard from NASA live during the actual flights of Shepard and Grissom was that of Colonel John 'Shorty' Powers. Tapes of the air-to-ground were released later.

The Spacecraft Films set features the entire air-to-ground from MA6 with Flight Director loop. The material I'm referring to consists of the Mercury Control announcements by Col. Powers, often followed by tape playbacks (no air-to-ground was broadcast live during Mercury). The Spacecraft Films Carpenter recordings are from on board the spacecraft; mine are, again, the live reports + tapes from Mission Control. These sounds were those actually broadcast live during the flights.

Colin Anderton
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posted 10-24-2008 09:13 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Colin Anderton   Click Here to Email Colin Anderton     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Mark, I've just thought...

Has the Mercury set been re-issued since the original? Maybe the content was expanded compared to the set I bought?

StarDome
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posted 10-24-2008 09:43 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for StarDome   Click Here to Email StarDome     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I definitely want to get them "transferred" as I don't want them to deteriorate any more that necessary. What do you think I ought to do?

Colin Anderton
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posted 10-24-2008 10:56 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Colin Anderton   Click Here to Email Colin Anderton     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Andy, if these reels are in recoverable condition, I'd be happy to transfer them.

Colin Anderton
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posted 10-24-2008 11:06 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Colin Anderton   Click Here to Email Colin Anderton     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Hey, Andy - I've just spotted that you're in Cambridge. I'm less than half an hour away from you.

Why not email me on colin.anderton@hotmail.co.uk

I'm sure we can arrange something.

Colin Anderton
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posted 10-28-2008 07:52 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Colin Anderton   Click Here to Email Colin Anderton     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I must say I'm surprised at the lack of response to this issue.

I wish I could post a few audio files, so members could hear examples of the material I'm talking about. OK, there's no pictures to watch, but then there wasn't much to see after the launch anyway. Mercury and Gemini were basically radio shows, and the TV networks really struggled to find images to keep their audience happy.

cspg
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posted 10-28-2008 09:32 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for cspg   Click Here to Email cspg     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Well, I think your explanation pretty much illustrates the lack of interest for these audio tapes. Mercury/Gemini images (photos/videos) are probably a niche market (would Spacecraft Films reveal their sales numbers?) but audio files... You're talking (so to speak) to real die-hard space buffs here. I'm not sure there are that many around.

Chris.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 10-28-2008 09:58 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Based on market studies conducted both by companies (e.g. Space Adventures, Action Products) and non-profit organizations (e.g. The Planetary Society, the National Space Society) there is a somewhat well established audience of approx. 250,000 people who spend money on space "stuff" (i.e. vacations, memorabilia, magazines, DVDs, etc.) because they identify themselves as space enthusiasts. That number at least doubles if you extend the reach to astronomy enthusiasts.

Thus, the suggestion that the market is limited is somewhat a misnomer, especially for a niche product like a set of audio recordings.

I think there are at least three issues at play here:

  1. Casual audio listeners, even if they are space enthusiasts, are more likely to respond to on-demand content offered through services such as the iTunes store as compared to compact discs.

  2. Simply converting old recordings to mp3s however, is not enough. "Shovel-ware," as it is commonly referred to (in reference to just pushing old content around), is frowned upon, especially if the content is public domain. (The feedback for the existing space audio collection on iTunes includes those critical of charging for NASA-sourced content).

    There needs to be a value-added service offered. Spacecraft Films, for example, remasters the NASA footage, such that their discs provide higher quality content than what can be sourced from the space agency directly.

  3. And then there's the competition from DVD. Yes, the early missions were mostly radio shows, but unless you are licensing the original radio network broadcasts (which I think would be appealing) you're left with just the air to ground and flight controller loops, which might as well be married to the on-board recorded film (again: value-added).
So, while I am not saying Colin's idea is a bad one, I think it faces a few hurdles, if the intention is to offer it commercially.

Colin Anderton
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posted 10-28-2008 11:18 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Colin Anderton   Click Here to Email Colin Anderton     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
OK Robert, I accept those points - but I shall continue my own personal journey through the 60s again. I'm just about to move on to Gemini 10, and I'm enjoying every minute of it.

(By the way, Young and Collins - as was said by commentators at the time - must have been the all-time champions at radio silence. They said very little throughout their entire flight. Even during Mike Collins EVA, he gave only one good description of what he'd been doing while outside the spacecraft!)

Colin Anderton
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posted 10-29-2008 02:10 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Colin Anderton   Click Here to Email Colin Anderton     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
StarDome - I'd still like to hear about those tape reels, Andy. Any thoughts?

I have reel-to-reel decks, and am very experienced at getting the best sound quality possible from the tapes.

Hope you can email me at
colin.anderton@hotmail.co.uk

We live only a few miles apart - I'm near Newmarket. Right on your doorstep.

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