Digitizing NASA data tapes

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Denspressure

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  • Yolch
Re: Digitizing NASA data tapes
« Reply #30 on: October 23, 2018, 01:39:07 AM »
How do you guys think I did on the non sequiter show?!
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rabinoz

  • 19391
  • Real Earth Believer
Re: Digitizing NASA data tapes
« Reply #31 on: October 23, 2018, 11:56:10 PM »
How do you guys think I did on the non sequiter show?!
I haven't seen it yet but you might be one that can answer a question that has bothered me.
Quora had this question asked "Was NASA's first landing on the moon broadcast worldwide, and if so, how were they able to do so with the technology of that time?"
And it was answered like this:
Quote from: Dragi Raos, IT consultant, lapsed physicist
Quora: By a rather Rube Goldberg-like contraption.

Remember, that was analog TV era. The signal throughput from the Moon was too paltry for any standard TV format, so only about 300 scan lines at much lower frame rate than standard was used. The signal was received in Australia by, essentially, a radio-telescope and displayed on one-of-a-kind TV monitor made to work with that format, with slow phosphor to compensate for slow frame rate. A “normal” camera was shooting that screen and broadcasting the result. Again, remember: no DSPs then, no graphic cards…

This is what was the image like on that special monitor in Australia:


And this is what the world (and the Mission Control) saw after this crude “format conversion”:


The conversion setup:
<< followed by a description of the crude “format conversion” >>
My question is simply this:
       I'm from Australia and I know it's a long time ago but my recollections are of the image quality being that in the first photo.
       Did the rest of the world see the images looking like the second photo?
We watched it on a little 12" B&W TV and while the moon pictures were certainly fuzzy they were certainly far better than that second photo.

Thanks in advance.

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Denspressure

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  • Yolch
Re: Digitizing NASA data tapes
« Reply #32 on: October 24, 2018, 01:13:15 AM »
Of course,

At the time of the Apollo 11 lunar EVA, multiple tracking stations were receiving the video, either directly from the LM or from a relay satellite. Some tracking stations had a better signal than others, some had a better working SSTV to NTSC conversion syste, (All used a crude 'point camera at SSTV' method, but some worked better than others) But arguably Honeysuckle Creek station at Australia had the best signal.

The first photo in your post is one of the few existing records of the unconverted SSTV signal. The photos are from the TV screen that displayed the SSTV signal, in this case it was a tape replay after the EVA concluded.

Your photos are from this PDF, which compare various different sources of EVA video: https://www.honeysucklecreek.net/Apollo_11/Apollo_11_TV_comparisons.pdf


See this page for more photos and details: https://www.honeysucklecreek.net/Apollo_11_EVA_stills/index.html

Anyways, news stations could also chose which TV signal to use from the available tracking stations. Here is a comparison of the HSK (Honeysuckle creek) and GDS ( Goldstone Deep Space ) recorded at those facilities, and at homes receiving the respective stations: https://www.honeysucklecreek.net/Apollo_11/Video_comparisons.html

Its fair to say Australia got the best video signal of the first step. You can briefly see the difference here, as the Australian broadcast has the GDS feed for a second but then switches to HSK: https://www.honeysucklecreek.net/Apollo_11/Australian_TV.html

Here you can see the dutch coverage of the Apollo missions: https://archive.org/details/thirdpartyspacevideos
To see Apollo 11, play 'Private-1-AS11-1'

You may like these audio recordings of the EVA from Sydney: https://www.honeysucklecreek.net/msfn_missions/Apollo_11_mission/Boniecki_tapes.html

The honeysucklecreek website has an enormous wealth of information concerning the intricate details of how the missions were received by the tracking stations. It also contains unique photos, audio and video taken from inside the stations as the Apollo missions were happening. It is worth a look.

Hopefully this helps.
« Last Edit: October 24, 2018, 01:27:46 AM by Denspressure »
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rabinoz

  • 19391
  • Real Earth Believer
Re: Digitizing NASA data tapes
« Reply #33 on: October 24, 2018, 03:12:05 AM »

The honeysucklecreek website has an enormous wealth of information concerning the intricate details of how the missions were received by the tracking stations. It also contains unique photos, audio and video taken from inside the stations as the Apollo missions were happening. It is worth a look.

Hopefully this helps.
Sure does, thanks. I'd read about the efforts they went to at Parkes, only a few hundred km from here,  to acquire the signal as early as possible.
This included over riding some of the dish safety limits and moving the position of the LNA.

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Denspressure

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  • Yolch
Re: Digitizing NASA data tapes
« Reply #34 on: October 26, 2018, 10:18:17 AM »
I like you, Rab.


You are one of the few people I would allow to be bossy with me.  Mutually beneficial, of course.
« Last Edit: October 26, 2018, 03:26:35 PM by Denspressure »
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rabinoz

  • 19391
  • Real Earth Believer
Re: Digitizing NASA data tapes
« Reply #35 on: October 26, 2018, 08:46:10 PM »
I like you, Rab.

You are one of the few people I would allow to be bossy with me.  Mutually beneficial, of course.
Thanks, but have I tried to be bossy with you? I hope not and don't think I've seen the need to.
Other than if you might deny that my photo of Nessie was genuine non-Photoshopped ;).

By the way, when I see the detail of NASA's research before the lunar landings and the numerous photos both good, bad and accidental taken during the missions I cannot doubt their reality.

Besides, if they were to fake something, NASA have the facilities to do the faking in such a way that these self appointed photo-experts ::) could never detect.
Then dutchy and others claim they can detect "uncertainty" in the words and actions of the astronauts.
Again if it were faked NASA is smart enough to either employ professional actors or train Armstrong, Aldrin and Collins accordingly.

These conspiritards look at the photos released in the media, often low res .jpg, and claim, "Look we've found an fake!" when it's only a .jpg artefact or the result of reduced resolution.

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Denspressure

  • 1561
  • Yolch
Re: Digitizing NASA data tapes
« Reply #36 on: December 30, 2018, 05:46:24 AM »
In order to celebrate (almost) New year, I have decided to release an unfinished version of the processed data from Pione-QK7992H done by Hans.

there are 12 files on the tape, of which we have confirmed 6 to be image files, and have decoded them. There are 3 B/W images and 3 duo-colour images. (file1, 2, 6, 7, 11, 12)

As to what is on them... we do not yet know. If you know anybody that could help, tell him about me!

As for the 6 remaining files, we are not sure what those are. Their ASCII metadata is similar to the image files, but the data is different. By processing some of the remaining files anyway, we get weird patterns that could hint to some kind of image format, but we don't know!

Hans has separated the binary data from all 12 files from the SIMH file and put each in their own folder. When applicable he converted them to images. Each folder is supplied with the raw binary data and readable ASCII metadata.

Note this is unfinished, as some non-image files have only their metadata supplied, not the binary data. This will be done later when Hans has the time.

https://archive.org/download/SpaceData/Pione-QK7992H-Processed-Alpha.zip
(File scanned by VirusTotal, no positives: https://www.virustotal.com/#/url/65fdc7a34fb300a82fb02bcaaebdcaf06befbcb89a9013625ef191a69ccc3c63/detection)

For more discoveries in 2019!
Niels
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Denspressure

  • 1561
  • Yolch
An update on the satellite telemetry tapes #1
« Reply #37 on: January 03, 2019, 01:15:08 PM »
Hello everyone,

Two of the four satellite tapes have arrived, the other two are coming later.

I have good and bad news; first we look at the good:

As you can see in the photos, the reels and tape are in good condition. All reels were carefully packed with original documentation in an aluminum holder. This holder was in two layers of cardboard. The cardboard seems to have a bit of water damage, but the tape has remained protected in the holder, which also has no rust. The reel has no scratches and dents.

The tape does not smell and looks good. I do not notice any mold or rotting. Optically, the tape is clean with little scratching on the playback side.

I have unspooled part of the tape and I do not notice any Sticky Shed Syndrome, although of course I could only check the beginning.

Now then, I dared to attempt to play the tape on my Akai X201D 1/4 4-track tape recorder. I did this by unwinding a piece of the tape and guiding the tape through the tape path guides and capstan. The tape gets pulled through the capstan in another box. With clean gloves, I make sure that the tape runs over the heads at the right pressure.

This was a success in itself because I received a number of signals. By carefully moving the tape up and down, I can try to focus on 1 track. Further than this I did not come.

I am talking to p.lankhaar about borrowing an 8-track tape recorder. He is testing his recorders to see if they are still working properly. Hopefully we can play the tapes better with one of those.

The bottom sound file are the interesting pieces from a few minutes of play on 7-1/2 I.P.S

https://www.dropbox.com/s/k2jbyoka6n50yhh/314N003-10786168-2.flac?dl=0

The tapenumber on the boxes and documentation is 3141/2N003
The number on the reel itself is 10786-16-8
Satellite: 1963-014A & B (ERS5)
Recorder: FR-100
Speed: 15 I.P.S
Station Name: GFORKS


With this we have proven that something is on the tape, and it can be picked up with a sound head.

And now the bad news: Tape 10678-159-29 / 330p001 I also tried to play, and I get no signal, just as if there was no tape at all. Maybe this tape has been erased, or recorded with another recorder that does not play on my Akai. Anyway, I do not have a sample of it at this moment.

There are two other tapes on their way, I will give an update as soon as I have tried to play those.

Regards,
Niels
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Denspressure

  • 1561
  • Yolch
Re: Digitizing NASA data tapes
« Reply #38 on: February 16, 2019, 12:34:56 PM »
Working on several update that should be a substantial resource of new information. An update on the Satellite tapes and Pioneer tapes.

Here is a preview of visualizing the magnetic tracks of an FR-100 and FR-600 tape:

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rabinoz

  • 19391
  • Real Earth Believer
Re: Digitizing NASA data tapes
« Reply #39 on: February 16, 2019, 02:42:09 PM »
Working on several update that should be a substantial resource of new information. An update on the Satellite tapes and Pioneer tapes.
Clean everything, handle with kid gloves, cross fingers and toes and hope for the best with 56-year-old mag tapes - at least they are a decent brand.

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Denspressure

  • 1561
  • Yolch
Re: Digitizing NASA data tapes
« Reply #40 on: February 28, 2019, 01:10:13 PM »
I have got great news on the new ESA tapes!

I have tested out three of the five tapes with a magnetic viewing solution, and all three clearly showed 7 tracks like the NASA tapes. This means they have not been degaused or overwritten with an audio recorder. The tracks look like raw telemetry, not computer tapes. One tape has a label that clearly says it came from a tracking station. I think we should be able to digitize these too eventually.

The tapes I have tested are:
TD-1 (Tape ID: 1117-09-08-B)
ESRO 1A (Tape ID: 800 645 08 10B)
HEOS A2 (Tape ID: 1115 06 11B)

I have made two videos on it in dutch.
First, a tutorial on how to make your town magnetic viewing solution.



And finally, a video where I visualize the magnetic tracks on 3 tapes:


I have attached some photos of the tracks to this message. I promise I will publish a big archive with detailed scans and photos of all ESA and NASA tapes currently in my possession.

I am interested to know if it is possible to determine the frequency of a signal by the macro photos, any ideas?

Best regards,
Niels.

Macro photos (Large!)
https://imgur.com/a/rnlJH9P
« Last Edit: March 01, 2019, 03:45:30 AM by Denspressure »
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Denspressure

  • 1561
  • Yolch
Re: Digitizing NASA data tapes
« Reply #41 on: March 01, 2019, 03:58:14 AM »
I have finally finished v1.0 of the archive for the NASA satellite tapes.

Sat-53123114313-Version1.0 (Object photos, text file.)

Sat-GFORKS-314N003-Version1.0 (Object photos, documentation, Akai RTR sample, visualized tracks)

Sat-GFORKS-314N079-Version1.0 (Object photos, documentation, Akai RTR sample)

Sat-GFORKS-330N100-Version1.0 (Object photos, documentation, Akai RTR sample)

Sat-SNTAGO-120J827-Version1.0 (Object photos, documentation, visualized tracks)

Sat-SNTAGO-314J019-Version1.0 (Object photos, documentation)

Sat-WINKFIELD-330P001-Version1.0 (Object photos)
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Denspressure

  • 1561
  • Yolch
Playing back some ESA tapes
« Reply #42 on: March 08, 2019, 02:41:06 PM »
Some interesting new finds, did we play telemetry?

Last week I took the time to play some ESA tapes (1/2 inch 7-track) on my Akai X201D (1/4 inch 4-track)

The tapes played:
1.
SAT: ESRO 1A
TAPE ID: 680841-292-230
ESOC/Section TLM: 13496
DATE: 24 JULY 70

2.
SAT: 720,141
TAPE ID: 1135 05 10A
ESOC/Section TLM: 21554
DATE:

3.
SAT: TD-1
TAPE ID: 1117 09 08 B
ESOC/Section TLM: 16837
DATE: "Day 089"

4.
SAT: TD-1A
TAPE ID: 1118 07 09 A
ESOC/Section TLM: 16672
DATE:


To give you an idea of ​​how satellites sounded in the 60's and 70's check out this website with recordings.


I made a video where I play the tapes and show it on an oscilliscope:


Some remarkable details:
ESRO 1A has a lot of activity at the beginning, it looks like a reference signal that is being adjusted. There pitch changes and there are periods of noise. Eventually we receive a stable signal which is certainly more complex than a simple sine wave.

ESRO 1A:
Oscilliscope:


Spectrogram: seems to show a kind of square wave, would this be satellite data?


Signal played at 20% original speed, sounds like morse code.


The space between the signals is similar to track 6 of the ESRO 1A tape:


TD-1
Oscilliscope : The wave of this signal swells up and comes down again.



Spectrogram : And here you can see that too.


TD-1A
Oscilliscope:
This signal has two harmonic waves:


And when we zoom out, it has a kind of block pattern:


But when it is very interesting to delay the signal, it sounds like a morse code again.
Spectrogram:


Signal played at 15% original speed, sounds like morse code again.

A lot of new information that will take some time to process.

It seems to me quite possible that this is the received data. If we find documents from the relevant satellite with information about telemetry, should it be possible to create a program or circuit that processes the signal?
A program could convert it to a spreadsheet. How much volts the battery outputs every second for example.

I do not know anything about it, but the ESA recordings do not seem to be FM-modulated, since such a wave looks very different.
The NASA recordings are usually not, so apparently AM and FM modulation was not common in recordings from this time.
The NASA documentation usually also has "Direct" recordings and not "FM"

I am looking for people who may be able to help with the relevant satellites, and who are more acquainted with this kind of work.

Niels
« Last Edit: March 08, 2019, 02:43:42 PM by Denspressure »
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Denspressure

  • 1561
  • Yolch
Re: Digitizing NASA data tapes
« Reply #43 on: March 16, 2019, 01:46:43 PM »
Gerald from the unmannedspaceflight forum has the following idea:


When coding the upper potential with 1, and the lower potential with 0, with a more or less fixed clock rate, we get pairs 01 or 10, never 00 or 11. So such a pair, or transition, seems to code a bit .
So it should be fairly easy to convert the signal into a bit stream.

Then it only requires us to find the relevant documentation so that we can write a computer program.

Voice found on beginning of NASA tape

On satellite tape 'Sat-SNTAGO-120J827' a voice can be heard briefly at the beginning. The voice probably tells us the recording time. "The time is 11 5 AM"

The satellite is Upsilon 61, the recording date was Sept 7, 1961

I had to play the recordings backwards.
Here the fragment as an MP3 file.
« Last Edit: March 16, 2019, 04:15:41 PM by Denspressure »
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