It was a defining moment of the Twentieth Century. At Christmas 1968, the crew of Apollo 8 – Frank Borman, Jim Lovell and Bill Anders – became the first humans to travel from the Earth to the Moon.
Millions around the world saw live television during their ninth orbit. The crew read from the Bible’s Book of Genesis, with a message “for all the people back on Earth” – “the good Earth”, as Commander Frank Borman described it.
Recently rediscovered onboard audio allows us to hear their historic message as if we were with them as they peer at the lunar surface sixty miles below.
The Apollo spacecraft carried an onboard tape recorder (the DSE), capturing engineering data as well as crew voice. It was replayed (“dumped”) to Earth every few hours. During the second TV broadcast, the Apollo Tracking Stations at Goldstone, California, and Honeysuckle Creek, Australia, were receiving the TV. After it finished, the onboard tape was replayed.
Tapes of the onboard audio were transcribed in Houston, and the tapes filed away. As far as I can tell, the audio has not been generally available. [Update: the onboard audio has now been digitised, but is of generally very poor quality.]
In mid-2013 an audio tape from Honeysuckle Creek was found to contain some of the Apollo 8 onboard audio from key moments in lunar orbit. This video brings together the television and some of that audio – probably for the first time.
For some notes and the rest of the audio, please see honeysucklecreek.net/Apollo_8/
For transcriptions of the onboard audio made at the time, see history.nasa.gov/afj/ap08fj/21day4_orbit9.html from 085:58:03 GET.