“A Giant Step In Communication” is a circa 1973 color film presented by the Ford Motor Company subsidiary Philco-Ford Corporation. It explores the early days of communication satellites. It opens with a look at the historic Apollo 11 moon landing in 1969 (mark 00:38) and the final splashdown of the Apollo 17 crew (mark 01:35) before visiting the Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas (mark 02:09). It’s there that the technology that helped put man on the moon was being used to advance communication systems. “Ways of meshing together men and machines … to attack problems at a grand scale,” the narrator explains at mark 02:36. The film flashes back to the Apollo 17 launch beginning at mark 03:20 as a Saturn V rocket lifts the spacecraft skyward. That mission — as with the missions before it — relied on superior communication between the spacecraft and mission control. Data is gathered and processed as the film shows scenes from the control center starting at mark 04:30 as well as images of the complex communications systems that made it possible. A discussion of the communication between Apollo 17 unfolds as animated scenes of the mission landing are shown and we listen to messages from the moon. The success of those missions was rooted in the cooperation of NASA scientists and engineers with industry and technology leaders (mark 07:15). Following a discussion of how some of that communication technology works, the film touches experiments conducted by Apollo 15 astronauts Dave Scott and Jim Irwin on the lunar surface (mark 08:45) including dropping a feather and an iron ball to see if, in a vacuum, both would fall at the same rate. All the while, information is being relayed to Earth via communication systems.
Great amounts of data would continue to be relayed as part of the Skylab program, the viewer is told. Flight controllers on Earth undergo rigorous training, some of which is discussed starting at mark 10:55, so that they will be equipped to deal with any potential situation faced during a space mission. Such training came in handy during the launch of Skylab (mark 12:27) when the station was damaged during launch when the micrometeoroid shield separated from the workshop and tore away, taking one of the main solar panel arrays with it and jamming the other main solar panel array so that it could not deploy. This deprived Skylab of most of its electrical power, and also removed protection from intense solar heating, threatening to make it unusable. However, the first crew was able to save Skylab by deploying a replacement heat shade and freeing the jammed solar panels, which was the first time a major repair was performed in space. The film interviews astronaut Ed Gibson about some of those events starting at mark 13:45, who goes on to discuss some of the missions and experiments conducted aboard Skylab.
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This film is part of the Periscope Film LLC archive, one of the largest historic military, transportation, and aviation stock footage collections in the USA. Entirely film backed, this material is available for licensing in 24p HD, 2k and 4k. For more information visit http://www.PeriscopeFilm.com