Released: October 1st 2011, By Groove Unlimited
This is my fourth solo album called 'Apollo'. For this album, I was inspired by the Apollo Moon missions, undertaken by NASA during the 60’s and 70’s of the previous century. Since I was born in 1969, the same year that Neil Amstrong set foot on the Moon, I have always felt a very strong connection to this event. Listening to this album will take you on a voyage from the Earth to the Moon and back again. Many of the astronauts that actually took this journey have stated that they went up there to discover the Moon, yet really discovered Earth. Before Apollo, no-one had ever traveled far enough away to actually see the whole planet in one view. Pictures of that beautiful blue marble floating in space have become famous the world over and have made mankind feel more interconnected than ever before. In my opinion, the Moon landings represent human’s greatest technological achievement up to date. I really hope to live the day that we will be able to return there.The album was released by Groove Unlimited on the 1st of October 2011 on the Electronic Circus Festival in Gütersloh Germany.
These samples are just low quality mp3 demos. The quality on the CD is much better! The whole is over 70 minutes long and holds 12 tracks!
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|In this track the Saturn rocket is still on the launch pad, an awesome sight to behold. You can really imagine the excitement with fumes of liquid oxygen and hydrogen coming from the rocket, measuring over 363 feet (110.6 m). However, during a ‘plugs-out‘ test of the mission, on January 27th, just before the actual start of the very first Apollo mission, something went terribly wrong. Virgil ‘Gus’ Grissom, Edward H. White and Roger B. Chaffee were killed in flash fire caused by a faulty electrical wire. The three astronauts had no chance to escape from the capsule which was filled with pure oxygen. This track is dedicated to these brave men.
|Apollo 7 was the first manned flight with the Saturn rocket. It served as a test flight to verify the adjustments that had been made to the capsule after the Apollo 1 disaster. Apollo 7 was in space for eleven days and returned safely after reaching all of its objectives. In this track you will hear part of the original radio communication between the astronauts and Houston ground control, starting with the final part of the countdown and lasting until the Saturn rocket reaches the edge of space. Notice the calm and professional communication during what must have been a very rough and exciting ride for the astronauts.
|The Saturn rocket consists of multiple stages which are jettisoned into space after burning up one after another. In this way the rocket becomes lighter and smaller which, in turn, allows it to achieve higher velocity with a smaller engine. Discarding the old engine and subsequently starting up the new one is called ‘staging’ and is an exciting process; if it doesn’t work out, the mission has to be aborted, with the crew not even certain that they will be able to return to Earth safely. Musically, this track is divided into three parts which symbolize the burning up of each of the three stages of the Saturn rocket.
|After the successful test flight with Apollo 7, NASA decided to send the Apollo 8 crew on a trip around the Moon. This mission was the first manned space flight that left the comfortable orbit around Earth. The crew of Apollo 8 were also the first humans to ever see the whole of the planet because nobody had yet ventured so far away. They made some astonishing pictures, including the famous ‘Earthrise’ photo that became famous the world over. In this track you can hear the crew of Apollo 8 describing the beauty of our planet.
|All Apollo missions first went into orbit around Earth. In this track you can hear the turbulent start were the Saturn rocket reaches orbital velocity. After escaping Earth’s gravity the spacecraft then goes into a peaceful orbit around Earth. Upon reaching orbit, the main engines are no longer required; a separate new engine would be fired up to set course for the Moon. Since the vehicle did no longer have to cope with Earth’s gravity this requires a lot less force. After completing this part of the journey, the Command Module would again go into orbit, this time around the Moon.
|Each mission took NASA a small step further in the direction of the actual Moon landing. The Apollo 9 mission was again a test flight, on which the Lunar Module went along for the first time. The crew tested the extraction of the Lunar Module from the third stage of the spacecraft, through a docking procedure with the Command Module. This test was crucial since it was the first time that an operation of this kind was performed in space. After this mission was successfully completed, the next mission -Apollo 10- went to the Moon to test the landing, but didn’t actually go all the way. Actually, the astronauts came within 15 km of the surface of the Moon and then returned.
|The Lunar Module was the first spacecraft designed to fly in space only. It was carried into space inside the third stage of the Saturn rocket. Upon reaching the Moon, the Command Module would separate from the third stage, revealing the Lunar Module. The Command Module would then turn around and dock with the Lunar Module in order to extract it from the third stage. This was a very delicate procedure because of the risk of damaging either one of the modules. After docking, two of the crew members would transfer from the Command Module to the Lunar Module and then descend to the Moon’s surface.
|The most famous Apollo mission of all was, of course, Apollo 11. On this mission Neil Amstrong was the first human ever to set foot on the Moon. The event took place on July 21st 1969 and it is almost certainly one of the most watched TV broadcasts in history. I’m sure everybody knows the famous words that Neil spoke: ‘That’s one small step for man; one giant leap for Mankind’. Also, the phrase ‘the Eagle has landed’ is well known. The Eagle, of course, being the name of the Lunar Module that took Neil Amstrong and Buzz Aldrin to the Moon’s surface. In my opinion the Moon landing is still the greatest human technological achievement to date.
|Just as we can see the Moon rise on Earth, the astronauts could see the Earthrise above the Moon’s horizon. Pictures of this spectacular view circled the globe. While the pictures themselves already looked stunning, actually seeing this with their own eyes must have been the greatest reward for the astronauts. After seeing the pictures of that tiny blue marble floating in space, many people started seeing our planet with different eyes, making Mankind feel more interconnected than ever. In fact, many returning astronauts told a similar story when they got back: that they went up to study the Moon but they actually discovered Earth.
|After another successful mission, that of Apollo 12, the media did not seem that interested anymore in the Apollo program. That is, until an accident happened during the Apollo 13 mission. The explosion that occurred blew up of part of the Command Module, making the crew run out of oxygen and electrical power. Had they not improvised to use the Lunar Module as a lifeboat, they wouldn’t have returned to Earth at all. Eventually, they made a safe return, leading NASA to call their mission a ‘successful failure’.
|The re-entry phase must surely be one of the scariest moments of every mission. After jettisoning almost the complete Saturn rocket, only the capsule is left to enter the Earth’s atmosphere. This needs to happen at just the right angle; Entering too steep will cause it to burn up, entering too shallow will bounce it off the atmosphere without any option for a second chance. During re-entry the capsule heats up tremendously, surrounding the capsule with fire. The astronauts are without radio contact and have no control whatsoever over the capsule. They can only hope for a safe return to Earth.
|After the turbulent ride through Earth’s atmosphere, brake parachutes are deployed, slowing the capsule down until finally splashing down into the ocean. Before landing, floatation devices are automatically inflated to keep the capsule from sinking after the impact. The crew then drifts around for a while until they are freed from their precarious position by the rescue crew arriving by helicopter. The escape hatch is blown and the astronauts are hoisted aboard the helicopter that will take them back to the aircraft carrier. All in all, it must have been quite a journey, but I’m sure none of the astronauts has ever regretted it.