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Apollo 10

May 18-26, 1969

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Decision at CDDT -
Apollo X May Carry Color TV System

NASA Manned Spacecraft Center Roundup - April 18, 1969
MSC officials last week described a color television system which may be flown on the Apollo X lunar orbit mission next month. They cautioned, however, that the system may not be ready in time for the flight.

The system uses a camera with an overall length, including lens, of about 18 inches. It is about four-and-a-half inches wide, about six-and-a-half inches high and weighs about twelve pounds. The system also includes a three-inch television monitor which can be mounted atop the camera or positioned at a convenient location in the cabin allowing the crew to see a black and white view of the picture they are transmitting to earth.

A decision to fly the color system on Apollo X will not be made until after the countdown demonstration test scheduled for the first week in May at NASA's Kennedy Space Center as a dress rehearsal for the Apollo X launch. Apollo Spacecraft Program Manager George M. Low said the decision at that time will be based on the quality of the televised picture and the availability of flight hardware. Since the development time for the equipment is very short, he said there is a good possibility that it will not be installed in Apollo X.

If it is flown, the color TV system would be carried as an experiment on the command module in addition to the black and white TV system. The color equipment is not designed for use in the lunar module or on the lunar surface.

The color camera can be hand-held or mounted on brackets, and it is equipped with a zoom lens which can be adjusted for close-up or wide-angle views.

The system transmits a sequence of three black and white pictures, each seen through a different color filter, for every color frame. The sequences of black and white pictures are reconstituted by a converter on the ground into a color picture which can be fed to US commercial TV networks.

The color camera was designed and built by the Westinghouse Electric Corporation, Baltimore, Maryland, using much of the same technology developed for the Westinghouse lunar TV camera - a black and white system. Cost of the color camera and its monitor is about $40,000.

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