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Thread by @DrPhiltill: "I looked into it and was told the last surviving Lunar Module telemetry tapes were stored in a missile silo and were old so the magnetic mat […]"

7 tweets, 2 min read
I looked into it and was told the last surviving Lunar Module telemetry tapes were stored in a missile silo and were old so the magnetic material was coming off. To read them we’d need to develop a procedure to bake the tapes, re-adhere the material. Then...1/n
2/n then we could play them back, but the last surviving tape player for that type of tape was in Langely, Virginia, so we’d need to ship them there and send funding. Then after reading the data we’d need to figure out what data formats the Lunar Module was using...
3/n. A data format is how the vehicle selects which of the thousands of possible measurements it could send back to Earth in any particular period of the mission. Data formats are all defined in this documents we would need to track down...
4/n. Then we’d need to write a computer program to convert the endless string of 1s and 0s into all the various measurements, based on how they were defined in the data format. That’s because the computers that were used to convert those formats are long gone.
6/n. Since I only had a little 1-year, $100,000 project there was no way I could afford all that. And I didn’t want to risk messing up the last surviving data tape. So what did we do instead?
7/n. Well, we stumbled upon a guy in Houston who had discovered a hand-drawn plot of one example of the data we needed: the height vs time of the Lunar Module as it descended to the Moon. That was for one of the lunar landings. And for the other 5 missions?
8/8. Well, we listened to the crew calling out altitudes on the radio, and we wrote software that analyzed the video looking out the window at the craters getting closer to calculate the approximate changes in altitude. So we resorted to CSI methods as the viable alternative.👍😁
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