Apollo Investigation

Separation, Transposition and Docking (STD) of Apollo 11 was in low-Earth Orbit

Julius A. Birch PhD

Apollo 11 earth view

Analysis of the 70mm Apollo 11 images numbers AS11-36-5301 through AS11-36-5313 and the 16mm film magazine strongly suggest that at the time of their filming the Apollo 11 craft was only in low-Earth orbit.

In determining the location of the Apollo 11 craft, the sizes of Earth and the S-IVB rocket and their distances from the camera are extracted from the media assuming a selection of camera lenses. The extracted CSM flight data include the turning rate and the turning angle, the maximum separation distance, and the docking velocity.

From their comparison to the Flight Plan, the Mission Report and to the oral transcripts from the Apollo 11 Flight Journal, it is found that the 16mm Data Acquisition Camera (DAC) was filming with the 10mm lens, and not with the 18mm lens as NASA reported. Consequently, the photography must have been done with a Hasselblad manual camera with the 38mm lens and not with the Hasselblad electric camera with the 80mm lens as NASA reported.

Conclusion: The visual media recorded with these new lenses puts the craft at the time of Separation, Transposition and Docking (STD) in low-Earth orbit, rather than Moon-bound after successful Trans Lunar Injection.

Julius A. Birch PhD

Aulis Online, May, 2018-2021

PDF Read the full analysis by Julius A. Birch PhD here

Email: Julius Birch


About the Author

Julius Birch received his PhD in applied (engineering) physics from the Fakultät für Mathematik und Physik of the Hannover University, Germany. After a brief post-doctoral work at his alma mater, he moved to the USA to pursue a career in applied industrial research. Currently Julius Birch is with a private company working on problems in system analysis & control, and remote sensing. His interest in NASA's accomplishments started after he viewed a YouTube documentary about the Moon.


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