31 May 2022

RFX Laptech crystals help restoration of Apollo mission S-band communications equipment

Apollo Golden Transmitter

Our quartz crystal division, RFX Laptech Precision, has recently helped a team of specialists in California with the restoration of S-Band communications equipment used for the Apollo mission.

An Apollo mission required continuous, reliable communication between earth and the spacecraft from launch until recovery. To meet the complex communication and tracking requirements of the Apollo program, a network of 14 ground stations served as the primary link with the spacecraft.

The original National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) transmitter and receiver had been modified for subsequent missions and so had to be returned to their original Apollo frequencies. Led by Marc Verdiell (Curious Marc), the team required specialist new crystals to work with the original Voltage Controlled Oscillator (VCO).

After various technical discussions and investigations, the team concluded that they required quartz crystals of the following specification:

  • 23.307292MHz for the Receiver
  • 21.941732MHz for the Transmitter
  • 15 pF Load
  • 3rd overtone
  • HC-47/U package
  • 10ppm Frequency Tolerance

After being manufactured at our Toronto factory, the crystals allowed Marc’s team to get the original Apollo S-Band communications equipment working again as originally designed for the Apollo flights.

Click here to watch a video of the project or on the photo above.

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