Apollo 11 missing tapes news release 2006

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In 2006 it was revealed that the first generation video recordings of the Apollo 11 moonwalk, recorded in Australia, had been misplaced. John Sarkissian an engineer at the Parkes station in Australia wrote a paper about the search that he had been conducting for the tapes since 1999. [1]

On July 13th 2006 news of the missing tapes was posted on the online forum Science.slashdot.org [2]

The same day Robert Godwin of Apogee books who was in the process of making high-definition transfers of the Apollo 11 16mm film footage for commercial release reached out to Sarkissian. In his email to Sarkissian he suggested that he contact CNN to break the story, in an effort to mobilize the public to find the tapes. On July 20th 2006 Sarkissian replied to Godwin granting him permission to send the story to CNN. Later that morning Godwin contacted science reporter Miles O'Brien at CNN to give him the story, but the news was crammed that day with events transpiring in Israel. O'Brien replied that he would love to run the story but couldn't get away from events in the Middle East.

Although Sarkissian had been looking for the tapes for years, within a week of his conversation with Godwin he spoke to the Sydney Morning Herald in Australia.

On August 5th the story ran in the Herald. [3] On August 7th when Godwin realised that another news organisation had picked up on the story he contacted Leonard David at Space.com who subsequently ran the story on August 13th 2006. [4]

The following day Gary Nurenberg of CNN's Washington bureau contacted Richard Nafzger at the Goddard Space Flight Center to interview him about the missing tapes. Later on that day O'Brien contacted Godwin to tell him they were trying to do more with the story. At 8.30 am EST on August 15th 2006 the story appeared on the ticker at CNN. Before the day was over the story had been picked up by ABC, Reuters, USA Today, UPI and in places as far afield as India and Romania. By 14.45 UTC on August 15th 2006 Sarkissian emailed Godwin to say, "I'm astounded at the response to the story. Leonard's story was by far the best and did a lot for the cause. Please pass on my thanks to him for his excellent article."