Apollo 11 VR is an immersive, virtual reality simulation of astronaut Michael Collins’ role in piloting the Apollo command module during the moon landing. Built using laser-scanned data of the command module from the Smithsonian Institute, as well as audio transcripts from Collins’ interactions with mission control, the installation features several interactive narrative moments that require the user to engage in tasks undertaken by Collins during the flight. This interactive narrative brings to light the crucial, but less-understood role of Collins during Apollo 11. The work is part of Powerhouse Museum (Sydney)’s Apollo 11 exhibition, which commemorates the 50th anniversary of the Moon Landing. Named after the spaceflight that was the first to land astronauts on the Moon’s surface in 1969, the exhibition explores this defining moment in history, its lasting impact on science, society and design, and the crucial role Australia played in transmitting the famous footage. Key objects on display include items from the museum’s extensive collection and from around the world: a feed horn used on the iconic CSIRO Parkes Radio Telescope, responsible for receiving some of the first images of the moonwalk for broadcast around the world; parts of the Redstone Rocket that put the first American into space; and an Olivetti Programma 101 computer, the type used by NASA to calculate the launch and landing.

Apollo 11 Command Module Simulation

Curator: Sarah Reeves
Sound Design: Jessica James-Moody
Exhibition Manager: Madeline Brady
MAAS advisory team: Arul Baskaran, Matthew Connell, Owen Conlan, Andrew Jacob, Maria Mosquera

Project Directors: Andrew Yip, Dennis Del Favero
Programmers: Alex Ong, John Zhang
Immersive VR Simulation
Industry Partners: Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences (MAAS)

Powerhouse Museum, Sydney, 2019-20