Author Topic: Historical Voyager Videos - looking for press conferences  (Read 1181 times)

Offline AegeanBlue

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I am fully aware that there is a thread at the robotic spacecraft section on the Voyagers, but it does not contain much historical information predating its creation in 2007, thus this new thread. If it is inappropriate, please lock it/move it. In view of the 40th anniversary of the launch of the most successful robotic mission in history, I have been trying to find online videos of the historic press conferences during the planetary encounters. There does not appear to be much online, the earliest press conference I found being for the Neptune encounters. If you read any book on Voyager you hear about the daily briefings, but no one seems to have ever place them online. Perhaps they are at archives of the Big Three networks. Here is what I found, please add anything else here if you find it online

Voyagers at Jupiter:

Lots of retrospective documentaries, but not much footage from the time. This is the most relevant and it is from 1982, covering both Jupiter and Saturn:



Voyagers at Saturn:

1986 educational retrospective video



Voyager 2 Saturn Encounter as it Happened 1981 NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory


Voyager 2 (Voyager II) Saturn Flyby pt1-2 and 2-2 1986 NASA JPL



Voyager II at Uranus:

Voyager II Uranus encounter 1986. This is more in the line of what I am looking for


Sky at Night Voyager 2 at Uranus 1986


Voyager II at Neptune:

This one is much better documented
Voyager 2 Encounter with Neptune 1989 NASA Voyager II film


Voyager 2 Encounters Neptune and Triton 1989 NASA JPL


Voyager, Neptune Encounter Highlights 1989 NASA Documentary


Voyager 2 at Neptune with Suzy Dodd


August 21 1989 Voyager 2 Update
https://www.c-span.org/video/?8803-1/voyager-2-update

August 22 1989 Voyager 2 Update
https://www.c-span.org/video/?8812-1/voyager-2

August 23 1989 Voyager 2 Update
https://www.c-span.org/video/?8817-1/voyager-2-update

August 24 1989 Voyager 2 Update
https://www.c-span.org/video/?8855-1/voyager-2-update

August 25 1989 Voyager 2 Update
https://www.c-span.org/video/?8864-1/voyager-2-flyby-neptune

CSPAN August 24 viewer call in with NASA chief scientist William Quaide on Voyager 2 at Neptune
https://www.c-span.org/video/?8857-1/voyager-ii-neptune

CNN 1989 Special Report:


Sky at Night Voyager 2 at Neptune:


Pale Blue Dot Press Conference 1990


There are several 3-4 minute historical videos, I was looking for longer duration videos. I have not watched all of these video so there might be duplication. If you know of a good online video archive of press conferences to search, let me know

Offline AegeanBlue

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Re: Historical Voyager Videos - looking for press conferences
« Reply #1 on: 08/09/2017 05:37 PM »
I am going through them, having finished the long Uranus video, and here is an update for those that do not have the time to actually see them. As I remember reading on a Voyager 2 retrospective article about the Neptune encounter which was on the Space Review in the run up to New Horizons at Pluto, back in the Neptune encounter, and I also assume in the previous encounters, JPL produced hour long daily video updates in addition to the press conferences. It seems that is also produced retrospective videos after the encounters which were shown later. The first video under Jupiter and the two first under Saturn are those video which were shown later on TV, likely in the run up to the Uranus flyby. The two part video under Saturn is actually the Saturn part of the Jupiter video first shared. The Uranus video is a collection of the daily video briefs which were distributed by satellite and, per the Space Review article, were shown at Science Museums and the like. It seems that they were also shown on local PBS stations, since in one of the days it has a scrawl saying "Dr Who and the Daemons will be shown at 11 pm". Also that video also includes a 10 minute video about USGS Astrogeology calling it a local facility, so I assume that it is from an Arizona PBS station. It seems that somebody taped the segments, perhaps to use in Science class, and then uploaded the videos to youtube. I am not sure where the Jupiter and Saturn retrospective videos come from though in one it claims to be from the archives of a local TV station; they exist in multiple copies on youtube. The Sky at Night is a decades long running BBC program, shown once a month, presented by Sir Patrick Moore until his death, though in 1986 he was not knighted yet. It is a recap if the encounter, 5 hours of JPL video compressed in 30 minutes.

Of the videos shared above only one in the Neptune section is from the JPL account, for the rest what we have is  mostly what people recorded in VHS tapes once upon of time and eventually digitized and uploaded to youtube. 1979-1981 is too early for video tapes, hence why I could only find retrospective videos recorded later. There is good reason to believe that the press conferences and the daily video briefings are not lost, its just that JPL and the networks have not uploaded them. For the 1989 Neptune encounter, which I have not seen yet, we have the advantage that it took place in August, a.k.a. the silly season albeit in a very eventful year. I don't know if CSPAN existed in 1986 but it definitely existed in 1989 and it had the time and the will to record the press conferences and show them, which is why they are up. We do not seem to have the daily briefings up, but in addition to The Sky at Night we also have a CNN Special Report.

For New Horizons we had 4 documentaries being shot during the encounter (I have seen two of them, they are quite repetitive of each other), live video feeds from NASA on the internet, several press conferences (on youtube) and tons of content from the far more television stations out there than back in the 1980s. Back in 1990 I remember that there was the Discovery Channel, showing shows like Wings, but no Science, National Geographic or History Channel. If you wanted to watch documentaries your cable choices where Discovery and A&E.

Offline the_other_Doug

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Re: Historical Voyager Videos - looking for press conferences
« Reply #2 on: 08/09/2017 08:33 PM »
During Voyager 2's 1989 Neptune encounter, PBS ran an all-night coverage special entitled "Neptune All Night".  It featured several members of the Voyager imaging team, looking at, and analyzing, the pictures (mostly of Triton) as they came in.  For the initial picture captures, the PBS broadcast team was training its TV cameras onto the CRT screens at JPL where the pictures were forming up, line by line, each with its histogram loading next to it.  That part of the coverage was really kewl.

It also included a guest appearance by one of the founding members of the comedy troupe Firesign Theater.   (I believe it was David Ossman, but I could be wrong -- it was 28 years ago, after all.) The attempt to provide comedic highlights wore a little thin, as we listened to George Leroy Tirebiter (a Firesign character) trying to make sense of Triton...  ???

I taped the whole thing, albeit in VHS low-resolution SLP mode, but 28 years later, even if I could find the tapes (not a sure thing), find that they are still playable (also not a sure thing), and that I could digitize them (for which I don't currently have the gear needed), *and* I could find the time to do any of the above, I'd surely post the whole thing to YouTube... ;)

Maybe someone else in her/his 50's to 70's did the same thing, and has a more favorable outlook on getting their tapes digitized?  I'd like to think so, but I couldn't tell you for sure.
-Doug  (With my shield, not yet upon it)

Offline jgoldader

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Re: Historical Voyager Videos - looking for press conferences
« Reply #3 on: 08/09/2017 08:33 PM »
There were those nightly shows on PBS during the Saturn encounters.  Al Hibbs was the host, and he'd usually have an interview with a team member, like Ingersol or Soderblom (spelling might be off).  My idealistic young self was firmly planted on the floor in front of the TV for those.
Recovering astronomer

Offline AegeanBlue

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Re: Historical Voyager Videos - looking for press conferences
« Reply #4 on: 08/09/2017 10:06 PM »
Well, a search for "Neptune all night" shows these two videos:

This one is actually over 5 hours:


This one is at two hours but at better resolution:


Al Hibbs is doing interviews at the Uranus videos with team members, this does sound consistent. I was 9 1/2 when Voyager 2 was at Neptune, and it was August and in Greece. Voyager did make me a space fan, but while it made the headlines and the front page which is why I became aware of it, television was not really following it. Back then TV was not even on for 12 hrs/day, even private TV had a siesta between 2 pm and 5 pm. Even if Voyager was on TV the way that Live Aid was shown for an entire day, being August and me being 9 1/2 years old, I would have likely kept on swimming at the beach and playing at the playground and dancing at the disco.

Thanks for giving me hints on what to search for

Offline AegeanBlue

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Re: Historical Voyager Videos - looking for press conferences
« Reply #5 on: 08/21/2017 06:53 AM »
Since today it is the 40 years of Voyager 2 launch, here is an update from watching the Neptune videos, though I have not finished them. The first Neptune video is a press conference some 3 months before encounter, with Ed Stone recapping Jupiter, Saturn and Uranus science before showing in the end long range images. The next two videos are highlight reels, the 10 m video is actually included inside the longer one. They do not look very impressive with today's technology, until you see the press conference videos from CSPAN and you hear that stitching the 6 frame Neptune rotation video took a 128 core supercomputer back in 1989. Today of course amateurs do it for fun on their home computer, do it better, and post it on unmannedspaceflight.com. The Neptune update with Suzy Dodd is the 5 am, 6 am and 7 am (the last not with Suzy Dodd, whoever she is) updates in the morning of August 25. If you want to watch the earlier update videos there is the Neptune all night videos, the first one recorded from a Florida PBS station, the second one I have not see in its entirety. The second video actually continues the first video, 4:34 from the first video is at about 38 minutes on the second and it is the end of the 2 am update. Honestly the only Neptune Voyager Science updates up on youtube are those on Neptune all Night plus the Suzy Dodd video, unlike the Uranus encounter where there is the tape with several days worth of updates, we do not have such a video for Neptune. CSPAN though has saved the press conferences although at time the end is missing. Honestly watching them you are reminded of what 1989 is remembered for: one of the reporters asking a question is from a West German newspaper, the wall fell in October, in August it was still up. I have yet to finish Voyager all Night or make it to the CNN special or Sky at Night. Still Neptune all Night is pretty boring except the Voyager Updates: There are three people in a studio in Philadelphia replying to listener phone questions, plus a few people walk in and talk about what they have done (e.g. a legendary Hollywood scifi producer, makers of a Halley's comet atlas) but we never see any of the program guests.
The long term predictions about Voyagers are interesting to see in hindsight. Per the 1982 video the Voyager mission will end at the end of the century and by that time they will have crossed into interstellar space. When asked in 1989 Ed Stone replied that the mission will go on for the next quarter century and they will explore interstellar space. Also the maneuver to swing Voyager 2 so that it took better pictures of Triton after the Neptune flyby was described as "the last maneuver any of the Voyagers will do". That was not to be, since Voyager 1 did maneuver in order to take the family portrait of the solar system, and it did maneuver again back in 2012 (it spun so as to position the magnetometer on the other side) when they were not sure if they had crossed into interstellar space, which had done so.
It seems that in the silly season there was lots of interest to catch some bona fide news, hence the larger number of specials and coverage in Neptune compared to Uranus which after all was in January. Still we are very thankful for those who taped their PBS stuff and put it on youtube, this is what we mostly have. I am no longer optimistic that anything can be found on Jupiter and Saturn encounters, they were too early for VHS (or betamax or videotapes in general)

Offline AegeanBlue

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Re: Historical Voyager Videos - looking for press conferences
« Reply #6 on: 08/28/2017 05:33 AM »
There is an 8 part television special entitled Rendezvous with Neptune. In the end it says produced by Hypatia entertainment with Turner Broadcasting System and a Japanese broadcaster. I have not seen it, no idea when it was shown on American TV, but since it ends with the Chuck Berry concert it was made after it. Likely it came out of some science teacher's video tape collection.

Part 1 of 8


Part 2 of 8


Part 3 of 8


Part 4 of 8


Part 5 of 8


Part 6 of 8


Part 7 of 8


Part 8 of 8


A small update on those I have seen, notes for anyone else especially now with the 40th anniversary. The second Neptune all Night video, from PBS 13 New York ends with a Jill Tarter interview at 3:30 or so in the morning, probably because whoever taped it run out of tape at that point. We thus have the Voyager updates all the way to the 3 am and then we have the 5, 6 and 7 am updates in the Suzy Dodd video. As I found out when I saw "The farthest" documentary on PBS, Suzy Dodd is the current Voyager project manager. On another note, the viewer question both at PBS and CSPAN were in general the following:

1. Why are you not going to Pluto?
2. Why didn't Voyager 1 also go to Uranus and Neptune?
3. Any evidence of alien life on Neptune/Triton/along the way a signal/did you find a wormhole like in Star Trek TMP?
4. How about Mars, and when are we getting there?

Honestly, for anyone who has seen any NASA press conference, the last two question show that some things never change. Now if only people had put up more Uranus tapes or Jupiter/Saturn era content ...

Offline AegeanBlue

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Re: Historical Voyager Videos - looking for press conferences
« Reply #7 on: 09/15/2017 08:51 PM »
After watching all the videos, youtube suggested a couple more containing all the Voyager Updates from Neptune:





I have not seen them. They are over 12 hours and I already know most of what is said. Maybe next summer. Still nothing on Jupiter and Saturn stuff though

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