Monday 21st July 1969
world watches through Honeysuckle Creek as Neil Armstrong steps
onto the Moon.
Hamish Lindsay, who took this photo, writes
Tom Reid, the Station Director, sent me out to record the moment. It was a wet and cold mid-winter morning we were suffering sleet showers at the time which you can see on the hills behind.Large, Larger.
Over the years since 1969, there has been friendly debate between Parkes and Honeysuckle as to who had the TV at the first step.
Problems at Goldstone
The Switch to Honeysuckle
When did Parkes come on line?
Part of John Saxons log at the
Click the image for the complete page.
And see the full
Honeysuckle log for Apollo 11 here.
see the transcript of the recording (opens in a new window you might find it helpful to print it out.)
and then listen to the recording a 1.2Mb mp3 file.
Why was this?
Robert Taylor, from the Goddard Space Flight Center, headed the NASA contingent at Parkes.
From an Australian Information Service film showing the preparations at Parkes. (with thanks to John Sarkissian.)
Hear Bob Taylor explain Parkes’ integration into the MSFN in this 780kb mp3 file recorded at Parkes in July 1969.
Robert Taylor with the NASA equipment in the Parkes control room several days before the lunar landing. The Parkes control desk is just out of view to the right, around the central column.
The slow scan monitor is at far left.
Photo is a screenshot from NASA footage, courtesy of Mark Gray.
08'00" can you confirm that we are receiving Parkes data? Honeysuckle Director Tom Reid indicating he has been told Parkes now had a good lock – and
08'42" Charlie Goodman advising Houston that he had a very good picture from Parkes
What if TV was being sent from Parkes from the start?
This TWX (pronounced twix Network teletype message) was sent by the Honeysuckle Station Director on behalf of Sydney Video (who probably didnt have TWX facilities) to the Goddard Networks Operations Manager at 7:19pm AEST on Monday 21st July 1969 only four hours after the lunar EVA had finished.
The TWX lists Sydney Video as sending Honeysuckle Creek pictures to the Manned Spacecraft Center in Houston from 109 hours 22 minutes Ground Elacpsed Time (the start of the TV) to 109 hours 30 minutes Ground Elapsed Time and then Parkes pictures for the rest of the EVA.
With thanks to Honeysuckle Video tech Ed von Renouard for the scan.
John Saxon has kindly deciphered the abbreviations
This is a routine (NN) message to Canberra switching centre (ACSW) and Goddard (GCTR) and Houston Network (HNET).
The message is from (DE) HSK (AHSK) the originator is Station Director (nominally Tom Reid but could have been written by someone else) using input from Sydney Video.
The message goes to Goddard NOM (Networks Operations Manager) and NST/USB (Network Support Team USB position) for action if required.
Info copies (cc these days!) were sent to Houston Network team (HNET) NC (Network Controller Ernie Randall?). Also to Canberra Switch (ACSW) for forwarding to Parkes and Sydney Video.
The 21/0919Z is the Date/Time Group (DTG) of transmission sent at 0919Z
(7:15 pm local) on the 21st July 1969 I think the year might have been on
the Time of Preparation (TOP) on the bottom of the message.
Finally it was a message of Operations type (OPN) for NCG-725 (Network Control Group number) = Apollo 11.
The movie The Dish was a lot of fun and brought to light the vital Australian involvement in Apollo but it re-wrote history and left people believing that Neil Armstrongs first step on the Moon was seen through Parkes.
Hopefully, the material above will help to set the story straight
1. The coverage of the EVA began with Goldstone,
2. then continued through Honeysuckle Creek
3. and then Parkes provided the TV for the rest of the EVA.
The team at Honeysuckle Creek had the unexpected pleasure of bringing the television pictures of the First Step on the Moon to the world.
Note of Congratulations from the Apollo 11 Flight Director
John Saxon preserved this copy.
Magnificent Australian Support of Apollo
This Press Release from the Minister for Supply, Ken Anderson, the day after the Apollo 11 EVA Tuesday July 22, 1969, states that Honeysuckle, and then Parkes, provided the TV pictures. He also pays tribute to the work of NASCOM at Deakin.
(Provided by Mike Dinn. Click for larger images.)
This newspaper clipping from the Sydney Morning Herald, Tuesday 22 July 1969, isnt completely correct at several points, but it captures the excitement of the day. Scan by Colin Mackellar.
Back to the main page for Apollo 11 TV.