AT&T celebrates Moon landing anniversary with audio of history’s longest phone call

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Forty-five years ago on Saturday,  Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin became the first humans to land on the Moon as they touched down on the Sea of Tranquility.

On July 20, 1969, President Richard Nixon also entered the record books – with the longest phone call ever made.

During the first 24 hours onto the lunar surface, Armstrong and Aldrin received a telephone call from Nixon. The call took place at about midnight, so a few reports say the call happened on July 21.

The official AT&T Tech YouTube Channel offers historical footage of the event, which Nixon later said was “the most historic phone call ever made from the White House.”

How did Nixon call the moon?

According to the AT&T, the phone call went from the Oval Office in Washington D.C. directly to Houston, then was routed into space via Mission Control, transmitted to CapCom, the designation of astronaut Bruce McCandless II, who served as capsule communicator.

Five years ago, on the 40th anniversary of Apollo 11, AT&T released audio of both the president’s call and of the entire mission.

Days later, Nixon personally greeted the returning Apollo 11 astronauts on the U.S.S. Hornet, which had picked up the recovery spacecraft.

Bell Systems — the precursor of AT&T — was on the team with the American space program through BellComm, its subsidiary working with NASA.

Formed in 1962, BellComm supplied technical and project management support for the manned space flight program. Later, the relationship would grow to include engineering, communications and analysis. BellComm disbanded in 1972.

Phil Ammann is a St. Petersburg-based journalist and blogger. With more than three decades of writing, editing and management experience, Phil produced material for both print and online, in addition to founding His broad range includes covering news, local government and culture reviews for, technical articles and profiles for BetterRVing Magazine and advice columns for a metaphysical website, among others. Phil has served as a contributor and production manager for SaintPetersBlog since 2013. He lives in St. Pete with his wife, visual artist Margaret Juul and can be reached at [email protected] and on Twitter @PhilAmmann.