In 1982, faced with the twin challenges of providing rapid access to subject-oriented photography while still attempting to preserve the original prints, the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum (NASM) initiated the NASM Archival Videodisc Program. This optical disc storage technology (LaserDisc) was first marketed to the public in the late 1970s as a means for marketing and distributing motion pictures, but the 12-inch constant angular velocity (CAV) format analogue videodiscs (similar in construction to later digital video discs or DVDs) could also be used to hold still pictures (approximately 50,000 still picture frames per side, or 100,000 images for a double-sided disc). Each frame was numbered, making it easy to access a specific image and "freeze" it for display on a television or video monitor. NASM Archival Videodisc 6 reproduced National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) photography of American lunar missions beginning with Ranger 7 in 1964 and ending with the flight of Apollo 17 in 1972, and including Ranger, Surveyor, Lunar Orbiter, and Apollo missions. Apollo imagery included 70 mm (color and black-and-white photographs covering astronaut activity on the moon, lunar features, and Earth imagery) and metric mapping photographs. This videodisc was unusual in that it featured a large number of text images interspersed with the photography in historical sections presenting chronologies of American and Soviet lunar missions, Apollo missions, and biographies of the Apollo astronauts. All photographic prints or color transparencies were sequentially numbered with printed title pages inserted into the sequence (black text on white paper) before the materials were photographed onto 35mm film for transfer to videodisc. Each videodisc was accompanied by a printed finding aid consisting of folder-level subject lists noting the image frame number or numbers associated with each subject.
Arranged by staff of the NASM Archives, described and encoded by Melissa A. N. Keiser, 2021.
Original archival materials photographed to produce this section of NASM Archival Videodisc 6, Side A, can be found in the related physical collection Videodisc Imagery Collection, Videodisc 6A Contents, NASM.XXXX.1000.1610.
Generated 1989, NASM.XXXX.1000.4610
2.13 Gigabytes (2,182 digital image files)
This collection reproduces a section of the first side (Side A) of National Air and Space Museum Archival Videodisc 6, a LaserDisc CAV format 12-inch (30 cm) optical disc published by the Smithsonian Institution in 1989, as individual videodisc frame captures. These digital images were created in 2003 by converting the NTSC video format output from an original copy of the videodisc to JPEG format still picture image files. NASM Archival Videodisc 6 reproduced National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) photography of American lunar missions from 1964 to 1972, including Ranger, Surveyor, Lunar Orbiter, and Apollo missions. This small collection consists of a historical series assembled by the NASM Archives to provide background information on lunar exploration missions by the United States and the Soviet Union.
No restrictions on access
The videodisc information is presented as it was originally published in 1989, in videodisc frame number order. A title page frame begins each videodisc folder. The image filenames consist of a prefix identifying the file as a videodisc frame capture (VD) followed by the videodisc number and side (6A) and the videodisc frame number (29244 through 31425). The original printed paper finding aid provided with the published videodiscs was a listing of subject heading frame ranges (Files) presented in directory format. To make the collection easier to navigate in an online enviroment, this digital finding aid adds additional heirarchical levels (Series and Sub-Series) to provide intermediate folder groupings. Images in the Lunar Exploration series are grouped by country and mission, with missions arranged chronologically. Images in the Apollo Astronaut series are arranged alphabetically by name (last name first) with a section of group photographs appearing at the end of the series.
This section of the Videodisc Imagery Collection, NASM.XXXX.1000, includes ONLY those videodisc frames which correspond to NASM Archives holdings, namely VD-6A29244 through VD-6A31425. This section is a historical series assembled by the NASM Archives in 1989 to provide background information on lunar exploration missions by the United States and the Soviet Union, drawing on photographs then held in the Space History Series of the NASM Technical Reference Files, with additional photography obtained from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Headquarters Public Affairs office and added to the collection. Museum staff added pages of text to create chronologies of American and Soviet lunar missions, Apollo missions, and biographies of the Apollo astronauts. Topics covered by the photography include launch vehicles (rockets), spacecraft, operations, personnel, and equipment such as the Apollo Lunar Roving Vehicles and the Apollo Mobile Quarantine Facility. NASA mission photography used to create all other sections of NASM Archival Videodisc 6 was returned to NASA at the completion of videodisc production and is not available from NASM Archives. The "videodisc frame capture" images reproduced in this section are small 100 ppi RGB JPEG image files, 624 x 480 pixels each, created in February 2003 by NASM Archives as still video frame captures of the NTSC video format output from an original copy of NASM Archival Videodisc 6. Each videodisc frame capture displays a black-edged white number in the upper left quadrant; the first two digits (00) are the videodisc chapter (not used on NASM videodiscs), the second set of five digits are the videodisc frame number. These numbers are an artifact produced by the videodisc player and do not appear on the original archival materials.
Ranger Lunar Probes
Lunar excursion module
Videodisc Imagery Collection, Videodisc 6A Frame Captures, Acc. NASM.XXXX.1000.4610, National Air and Space Museum, Smithsonian Institution.
National Air and Space Museum Archives