Space, the final frontier – 1960’s style

A couple of weeks ago, I published a blog called ‘London Lost’, about how I’d found a box of old slides from the 1950’s and 60’s and spent a very pleasant hour or so flicking through them to see what secrets they held. While most of them were family photos, some were of London and others were part of a collection about space, including the Apollo 11 moon landing and one of the first ever spacewalks. At the time, I promised to share those with you in a future blog and so, not being one to dilly-dally, here they are.

Unlike the slides in ‘London Lost’, which had suffered the ravages of time, albeit in a way that I think greatly enhanced them, most of the space slides haven’t done quite as badly and retain more of their original and in my view, fabulous 1960’s colour palette… which you just don’t get with today’s ultra-clear, high definition images. Okay, so they are a little grainy, but then what do you expect for pictures taken almost fifty years ago?

So, once again, grab yourself a cup of something warm (or cool, depending on where you’re from), sit back somewhere comfortable and lose yourself in a pictorial journey through time and space.

Starting from the beginning, we’ve got a few general images of the Earth from space, just to help set the scene and let you know where you are… or where you should be if you’re currently somewhere else.

Space - Earth from Apollo 12. Rob Gregory Author

Unless you are ET, this is your home. Abuse it at your peril!


Space - Earth from 160,000 miles. Rob Gregory Author

Earth from 160,000 miles. I can see your house from here!

Then we have a few slides of the Gemini missions, namely Gemini 4 and 7, which preceded the Apollo missions that ultimately placed a man on the moon, back in 1969. The Gemini missions were important because they allowed key techniques and manoeuvres to be perfected before the Apollo missions were launched.

Space - Gemini 4 spacewalk. Rob Gregory Author

Gemini 4 spacewalk – Not quite walking on the moon, but not bad nontheless!


Space - Gemini spacewalk close up. Rob Gregory Author

Only the second ever spacewalk and already the tape player has packed up!


Space - Gemini 7. Rob Gregory Author

Gemini 7 from Gemini 6 – Please engage reverse… now!

Moving on, we’re now right up there with the big boys, starting with Apollo 9, which saw the first successful test of the complete Apollo spacecraft, including the famous Lunar Module, or ‘LEM’.

Space - Apollo 9. Rob Gregory Author

Apollo 9 in orbit above Earth, just in case you were wondering.


Space - Apollo 9 and LEM. Rob Gregory Author

The LEM… not to be confused with Lemmy from Motorhead. Do so at your peril!

Then, it’s the main event. The one that everyone (or almost everyone these days) knows about, Apollo 11. Buzz Aldrin, Neil Armstrong, the first two men on the moon and poor old Michael Collins, who piloted the command module alone while his colleagues were bouncing around on the lunar surface. Some people get all the luck!

Space - Apollo 11 Launch. Rob Gregory Author

Apollo 11 – Are we there yet?


Space - Aldrin descending the LEM. Rob Gregory Author

This is a bad time to be scared of heights, Buzz!


Space - Aldrin on the moon. Rob Gregory Author

Now, which camera do you want me to look at, Mister Kubrick?


Space - erecting Apollo 11's solar sheet. Rob Gregory Author

Neil, what was this bit for again? Erecting the solar wind sheet during the Apollo 11 mission.


Space - Looking at the LEM. Rob Gregory Author

Inspecting the LEM foot pad – Looks OK to me. In fact, it looks amazing!

In lieu of a brief interlude after all that excitement, here are a couple of calming images of our nearest celestial neighbour, the moon. Beautiful, alluring and sitting a mere 252,000 or so miles away, completely beyond the reach of most of us!

Space - the moon. Rob Gregory Author

The Moon – Your next holiday destination?


Space - The moom in close up. Rob Gregory Author

Some nice looking craters on the lunar farside, but watch out for Clangers!

Following that, we’re on to some of the less well-known Apollo missions, namely Apollo 12 and 14. Funnily enough, there aren’t any pictures of the Apollo 13 mission, which saw Captain James Lovell and his crew stuck in space for six days, following an accident, until they made a heroic and successful re-entry into the Pacific Ocean, on 17 April 1970. Arguably, because of the Apollo 13 film by Ron Howard, starring Tom Hanks, Kevin Bacon, Gary Sinise and the now sadly departed, Bill Paxton, the Apollo 13 mission is probably NASA’s best-known space mission, even though it didn’t achieve its original objective.

Space - Apollo 12. Rob Gregory Author

Apollo 12 – One good launch deserves another!


Space - Apollo 12 astronauts. Rob Gregory Author

Apollo 12 astronauts – Just for information, you need to put these guys inside, before you launch the rocket!


Space - Apollo 12 descent. Rob Gregory Author

Apollo 12 descent. Hang on, if there’s no one there, how come the camera is still running?


Space - Apollo 12 splashdown. Rob Gregory Author

Apollo 12 spalshdown… or down to earth with a bump if you get it wrong!


Space - Apollo 14 rocket. Rob Gregory Author

Apollo 14 – Saturn 5 rocket. I built one when I was a kid; a model one that is.


Space - Apollo 14 firing room. Rob Gregory Author

Apollo 14 firing room – When I push this button…

Finally, to wrap things up, we gaze outward, as man has done ever since he first looked at the heavens to see some of the most iconic astronomical groupings in space, including the Orion Nebula and the ever-dazzling Pleiades, or Seven Sisters as they are also known.

Space - Orion nebula. Rob Gregory Author

The Orion nebula – A great big, but very pretty, cloud of gas.


Space - The Andromeda Galaxy. Rob Gregory Author

The Andromeda galaxy. Home to the ‘Andromeda Strain’, so don’t even think of visiting!


Space - The Pleiades in Taurus. Rob Gregory Author

The Pleiades in Taurus. If only all stars looked like this.

Note: Originally, all of these images would have come from NASA, but seeing as they were part of a commercially available collection that was intended for sale, I don’t think that they’ll mind me dusting them off and sharing them with you just this once. I hope that you enjoyed them!

If you liked this blog, then please check out ‘London Lost’, as well as my other blogs. And please do feel free to share more widely!