Reports have become rare in which drivers were misled by their car’s navigation system and accidentally slipped into a river, expecting a not yet build bridge or desperately ended up on a steep mountain trail, non-suited for anything wider than a goat. In sum you would feel save to assume that nowadays route-based guidance has improved significantly and at the same time humans have learned to not always trust the machines. Most not all.
The Apollo space flight program is long history, even the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11 was already celebrated more than a year ago. Todays headlines in spaceflight are either written by a psychologically conspicuous president building a Space Force or a pot smoking business magnate launching electric cars in space and polluting the night sky (and earth orbit) with his up to 42,000 Internet satellites.
In contrast Ben Feist (Homepage | Twitter) has done phenomenal work in reviving the Apollo fever. Or how else can you call it when you are able to replay some of the original missions in real time – second by second from start to end – whilst having the ability to switch interactively between all mission control audio channels, public commentaries, and various video streams. In addition the multimedia content has been enriched with photographs, transcripts, and many more details. All available sources have been carefully restored, synchronized, and packed into an intuitive and original user interface.
Its seems that all of this fabulous work has taken years. Ben Feist’s first blog post describing the idea is of 2012. The first public release was announced three years later, adding additional features in 2016. Oh and that was only about Apollo 17, not to mention Apollo 11 and Apollo 13. In the end it seems to have brought him a job with NASA and collaborators like Stephen Slater, David Charney, Chris Bennett, Arnfinn Holderer, and Robin Wheeler.
Reading the statistics of the included real-time elements for e.g. Apollo 11 is just stunning: All mission control film footage, all TV transmissions and onboard film footage, 2,000 photographs, 11,000 hours of Mission Control audio, 240 hours of space-to-ground audio, all onboard recorder audio, 15,000 searchable utterances, …
Pro tip: Make sure that you do not have any further plans for the day, before you click on https://apolloinrealtime.org/.