Latest News and Events


12 September 2022

“We choose to go to the Moon”

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12 September 1962.

President John F. Kennedy speaks at Rice University, Houston, Texas.

“We choose to go to the Moon, we choose to go to the Moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one in which we intend to win, and the others too.”

Watch the speech here.

Digital image with thanks to Stephen Slater.

 

12 September 2022

Vale Darcy Farrell, “Iconic WA Newsman”

Darcy Farrell

The sad news has come that Darcy Farrell died in Perth in early September.

Originally from Wanganui in New Zealand, Darcy was the founding News Director at Western Australia’s first television station, TVW7, which went on air in 1959.

He was highly respected and admired by his colleagues in the news media and will be sorely missed. A tribute in The West Australian newspaper on September 8 2022 was headlined “The Iconic WA Newsman”.

Why mention him here? Darcy was one of the journalists stationed at Muchea for Friendship 7 in early 1962, and he also reported on all the other Mercury missions.

In 2021 he took the time write a fascinating account for this website.

Image: Ken McKay, WA TV History.

 

01 September 2022

Vale Dennis Willshire

Orroral Valley

We’ve heard the very sad news that Dennis Willshire has died in Adelaide.

He served as Station Director at both Island Lagoon and Orroral Valley Tracking Stations. At this link, hear a recording he made as a memoir of his time at Island Lagoon.


Orroral Valley

Dennis Willshire pointing to the site for the Orroral Valley water bore. Tidbinbilla archives.


Orroral Valley

Dennis Willshire is second from left in this 1977 photo taken at the front of the Orroral Valley Operations Building. Other names here.

 

01 July 2022

Vale Bob Goodman, OTC Australia

Sydney Video

We’re very sorry to hear that Bob Goodman has died.

Bob was responsible for the co-ordination of all international telecommunications services via OTC Australia in support of NASA.

He played a key role during Apollo 11 as Moonwalk television from Honeysuckle Creek and Parkes was switched at Sydney Video at Paddington to the Moree Satellite Earth Station and then to the USA.

In the photo above, Goddard Space Flight Center Public Affairs’ Ed Mason (on the left) presents Bob with a NASA certificate of appreciation for his support of Apollo 11.

Peter Bull, President of the Overseas Telecommunications Veterans Association (OTVA), speaks of “the high esteem in which Bob was held by OTC and its staff with respect to his contribution to the NASA Space missions”.

Photo: Bob Goodman via John Sarkissian.

 

10 May 2022

Vale Jack Duperouzel, Muchea Tracking Station

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Jack Duperouzel, the last surviving member of the Muchea Tracking Station technical staff, has died in Perth.

As one of the three initial permanent technical staff, he was one of the first Australians to be involved in manned space flight tracking.

Jack is seen on the right in this 1961 image from Muchea. (See the video below for more.)

Jack had served as a Radio Mechanic in the Fleet Air Arm of the Royal Australian Navy, based at Nowra, NSW. His time in the RAN expired in November 1960 and Jack returned to Perth with his wife Jenny after he answered an advertisement in The West Australian newspaper.

When he arrived at Muchea, the station was still being built and equipment was being installed. Muchea was one of Mercury 16 tracking stations world wide. Systems were installed for Radar, Acquisition Aid (he was the operator), Telemetry, and Air to Ground Voice.

When Muchea was scheduled to close after the last Mercury mission in 1963, Jack was offered a position at the Carnarvon Tracking Station, then being built for Project Gemini.

In March 2022 he wrote,

“I was offered a job at Carnarvon but I knew it was a frontier town, and having lived in the country towns of Dowerin, Gingin and Wagin (my father was a policeman) Jenny & I chose to stay in Perth and had our family of Alex & Wendy, and went into business with my elder brother Ken and were distributors for STIHL products for thirty years.

I enjoyed my 12 years in the Navy, finishing as a Chief Petty Officer in the Fleet Air Arm, but the experience at Muchea was the highlight of my life.”


Jack shares a little of his story (voice only) in this footage of Muchea.

Click here for a full screen version.


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Jack, circled, stands with the Muchea technical team, support staff and visiting US flight controllers, for John Glenn’s Friendship 7 flight in February 1962.


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In February 2012, the City of Perth celebrated the 50th anniversary of turning on the lights for John Glenn as he orbited overhead in Friendship 7. Jack was interviewed on local radio, and met then Premier of Western Australia, Colin Barnett (above left).

 

20 April 2022

Vale Doc Weaver, ARIA Control

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We’re saddened to hear that Richard “Doc” Weaver has died in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Doc was the Officer in Charge of the Aircraft Operations Control Center (ARIA Control) at Patrick Air Force Base in Florida, running the worldwide fleet of Apollo Range Instrumented Aircraft.

As well as a distinguished career in the US Air Force, Doc was an accomplished painter.

In May 2021 the Military Officers Association of America published this feature on Doc, and it was included in this online tribute.

(Bottom photo by Bob Burns, showing an Apollo simulation at ARIA Control in 1967.)


01 April 2022

Vale Tony Cobden

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We’re saddened to report that Tony Cobden has died in Sydney.

Tony was the second STC Company Manager at Honeysuckle Creek.

In the above photo (full image here) Tony is welcoming Prime Minister John Gorton to Honeysuckle Creek on the day of the Apollo 11 lunar landing, 21 July 1969.


Tony Cobden and Bruce Hamilton

In this photo by Hamish Lindsay, also taken in July 1969, Tony Cobden stands with Company Administration Officer Bruce Hamilton (right) in front of the Honeysuckle antenna.

 

 

10 March 2022

Vale Les Whaley

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Jan Delgado in the UK has reported the sad news that Les Whaley has died in Canberra.

Les was a member of the Miinitrack team at Island Lagoon 1963-65 before he moved to DSS42 Tidbinbilla. He is pictured above at Island Lagoon Minitrack in a Department of Supply film.

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At Tidbinbilla Les examines a mosaic he assembled of Surveyor 1 images in 1966.

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Les (right) is pictured with John Jorritsma at Tidbinbilla on 13 April 2013 for the 40th anniversary of the opening of DSS43.

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Louise M took this lovely photo of Les (left) chatting with Patrick Helean at Questacon under the giant moon during the Apollo 11 50th anniversary celebrations in July 2019.

 

22 January 2022

Vale Hamish Lindsay

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We’ve very sorry indeed to report that Hamish Lindsay has died in Canberra.

For decades, Hamish has been absolutely key in preserving the history of Australia’s role in space tracking.

At Carnarvon, and then Honeysuckle Creek, Hamish produced a unique record of photos, many reproduced on this website. (There is still much more of Hamish’s work to add.) He also documented Orroral Valley as well as Tidbinbilla, where he established the Visitors Centre.

Of course, Hamish’s book, Tracking Apollo to the Moon, described by Flight Director Chris Kraft as “a sort of encyclopedia of the beginning of man’s quest for flight into space”, is unsurpassed in his retelling of the events of the early Space Age. Building on that work, Hamish has written many essays which are on this website.

But more than that, Hamish was a good friend to many, and will be sorely missed, especially by his family.

In the image above, Hamish is pictured at the Gemini Engineering Console at Carnarvon Tracking Station on 03 August 1965.

Hamish’s biography outlines his extensive space career.

Colin Mackellar, Saturday 22nd January 2022.


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A brief video tribute to Hamish – on Vimeo.


Dr Michael D. Griffin, former NASA Administrator, very kindly sent this message which was read out at the service for Hamish on Friday 4th February at Norwood Park in Canberra:

Michael Griffin

I didn’t know Hamish Lindsay. I wish I had. I didn’t know anyone from Honeysuckle Creek. I wish I had. I’ve never had the privilege of meeting any of the dedicated Australians without whom the U.S. space program simply could not have happened as it did. I hope one day I can.

But what I have seen and do know is the amazing bond that the early space program brought about between like-minded Aussies and Yanks, a bond created and nurtured by Hamish and his colleagues and that endures to this day.

I was just 13 years old when John Glenn flew over Australia for the first time, and like the rest of the world I heard how the lights of Perth were turned on for him. There are too few of us now who remember those events, and who will never forget the people like Hamish who helped make them happen.

When I saw the pictures that Colin sent to me of Hamish at work, not only was I transported back to that time, but I recognized a man like myself, an old “radio head”, a man perfectly at home among those stacks of now old-fashioned equipment, a man truly in his element.

I wish that I had had the chance to know Hamish Lindsay. I am glad that you did. Thank you for allowing me to help celebrate his life.

Michael Griffin
NASA Administrator, 2005-09.


31 December 2021

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Here’s a print-it-yourself Honeysuckle Creek wall calendar for 2022. All except two of the photos featured are by Hamish Lindsay. (Thanks again Hamish!)

Click the image above for a 9.5MB PDF file. (Right click to save the linked file.)

Update: Some PDF readers seem to have trouble with the 9.5MB compressed version, displaying garbled images. If that happens for you, please try this 32MB uncompressed version.

While it is laid out for A3 paper, it looks OK reduced to A4 size. I have no idea how it might go on US paper sizes.

I suggest selecting the “borderless” print option, if your printer supports it.

Using heavier weight glossy photo paper also looks better.

I added a small cross at the top centre of each page to help if you wanted to punch a hole for hanging it. (I found that using a bulldog clip works better, and the paper doesn’t curl quite as much.)

Lastly, if the paper does tend to curl, you might want to print just a month at a time when needed. – Colin Mackellar.

 

23 November 2021

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We’re sad to report that Vern McGlynn (right) died last month (October 2021) in Lake Havasu City, Arizona. He was one of the NASA team working at Sydney Video during the Apollo 11 EVA.

In this photo he is at his Sydney Video console next to NASA’s Charlie Goodman.

Vern had moved to Lake Havasu City at the recommendation of his colleague Ray Lauver, who had worked with Vern at Goddard and at Sydney Video, and who had moved to Lake Havasu City in the 1970s.


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We’re also sad to report that Bill Reytar, who had been at Parkes for Apollo 11 and Apollo 12, died in Laurel, Maryland, in June 2016.

Bill was sent as the Receiver Engineer from Goddard Space Flight Center to be present at Parkes. He came with Robert Taylor (team leader from Goddard), George Krop (MILA) and Alfred Stella (MILA).

An online tribute to Bill has been posted here.

Base photo by Keith Aldworth.

 

24 May 2021

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We’re saddened to report that Dr Ross Taylor, a giant in the field of lunar geochemistry, has died in Canberra.

In July 1969, Dr Taylor from ANU performed the first chemical analysis of the lunar samples returned by Apollo 11.

Hamish Lindsay took the above photo and recorded a 65 minute interview with Dr Taylor in 1994.

 

 

02 January 2021

During COVID lockdown, Cyril Fenwick has been busy making some wonderful models and dioramas.

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Click the image to see Cyril and his models.

 

09 September 2020

We’re very sad to report the death of David Cooke from Parkes.

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David Cooke at Parkes in May 2019. Photo by John Sarkissian.

 

John Sarkissian shares the unwelcome news –

“David Cooke, former Officer-in-Charge of Parkes Observatory, passed away late yesterday, 8 September 2020. David had suffered a heart attack several weeks ago and had undergone surgery at Orange Base Hospital. Unfortunately, his condition deteriorated and he was transferred to RPA in Sydney, on 19 August. He died peacefully in his sleep with his dear wife, Margaret, by his side.

David was 88 years old. He came to Parkes in 1967 to take up his role as Senior RF Engineer. He served as Officer-in-Charge of the CSIRO Parkes Observatory from 1988 until his retirement in 1993. He is survived by his wife Margaret, and his daughter Penny, son Simon, and their families.”

____________________

While primarily concerned with radio astronomy, David was well known and greatly respected by many from the Manned Space Flight Network and Deep Space Network who worked alongside him when Parkes supported various Apollo missions, as well as the Voyager 2 encounters with Uranus and Neptune.

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In this photo by Tidbinbilla’s Bruce Window, David is sixth from left. A team from Tidbinbilla were at Parkes to support Apollo 12.

Left to Right:

1. Roy Stewart (Engineer in Charge of SpaceTrack staff)
2. Harry Westwood (Recorder/Instrumentation Senior Technician, SpaceTrack P/L)
3. Dennis Gill, CSIRO
4. John Shimmins, CSIRO
5. Peter O'Donoghue sitting on Tidbinbilla car bonnet.
6. David Cooke CSIRO
7. Jack Dickinson (RF Senior Technician, SpaceTrack P/L)
8. ?? CSIRO
9. ?? CSIRO
10. William Reytar, NASA Goddard.
11. Dr John Bolton CSIRO, Director of Parkes.

Transparency by Bruce Window.
2020 re-scan by Colin Mackellar.
Image repair and colour-restoration by Glen Nagle.


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David Cooke took this photo of the Parkes Radio Telescope at the end of the Apollo 11 EVA on Monday 21 July 1969. The Dish had been battered by strong winds and a hail storm earlier that afternoon. Scan: Colin Mackellar.

 

05 July 2020

We’re very sad to report the death of Carnarvon’s Paul Dench in Perth last week.

 

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Paul Dench and the under-construction USB antenna at Carnarvon. Photo by Hamish Lindsay.

 

David Johns and Alan Gilham, who both served at Carnarvon, share their tributes on this page.

 

01 January 2020

DEFINING MOMENTS – Honeysuckle Creek

Mike Dinn has drawn attention to this very nice page on the website of the National Museum of Australia.

It was put together for the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11 celebrations in July 2019.

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The National Museum of Australia page at:

nma.gov.au/defining-moments/resources/honeysuckle-creek

 

05 July 2019

Apollo 11 Restored EVA TV handover.

On Wednesday 3rd July, a copy of the Restored Apollo 11 EVA television and associated files was handed to the National Film and Sound Archive in a brief ceremony at Parliament House in Canberra.

The hard drives are one of three official sets – one was placed with the US National Archives, another with the Johnson Space Center in Houston, and the third was sent to Australia. It has been in the custody of CSIRO and was handed over for the Apollo 11 50th Anniversary.

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The Australian Federal Communications Minister, the Hon. Paul Fletcher and the Science Minister, the Hon. Karen Andrews, receive a hard drive of Apollo 11 video from NASA’s Deputy Associate Administrator, Badri Younes.

Photo: John Sarkissian.


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Members of the Apollo 11 Tape Search Team John Sarkissian (at left) and Colin Mackellar (at right) with Mike Dinn, Honeysuckle Creek Deputy Director during Apollo 11, and Jan Müller, CEO of the National Film and Sound Archive.

Photo courtesy John Sarkissian.

 

 

01 July 2019

Apollo 11 in Real Time.

See this extraordinary website created by Ben Feist.

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One Small Step – Space Open Day at Canberra Deep Space Communication Complex.

Sunday 21 July 2019. See the CDSCC website for details.

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There’ll also be an Open Day at Parkes.

 

OTC Memories of Apollo 11

The Overseas Telecommunications Veterans Association (Australia) has produced a special edition of their Newsletter.

Featured are stories and memories OTC’s extensive Apollo 11 support.

 

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Click the image for a 2.7MB PDF file.

Thanks to Jim Simpson and Peter Bull for their permission to host a copy here.

 

Related: Dick Nafzger’s account of the setting up of Sydney Video, and the Scan Converter ‘explosion’.

 

01 June 2019

We’re sad to report the death of Richard (Dick) Mallis on Sunday 26th May, on the New South Wales south coast.

Well known to many in the space tracking community, Richard was a pioneer of NASA’s Deep Space Network. Click the image for a tribute.

Dick Mallis

JPL Operations Manager Dick Mallis is remembered as a pioneer of the Deep Space Network.

 

01 February 2019

A very promising film for the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11

The upcoming film “Apollo 11” has premiered at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival.

The official trailer (longer than the teaser trailer posted back in December) is now available. Watch it at this link for a full screen option. (Youtube).

 

The backstory is that NASA had commissioned a film about Apollo 11. It was released in 1970 as “Moonwalk One”.

You will recognise a lot of the clasic Apollo 11 launch footage. Here’s a copy on YouTube.

The end product – the film – was delivered in 4:3 aspect ratio, and as 35mm prints. NASA had no need for anything better.

What everyone had forgotten was that much of the source film for the movie was originally shot in widescreen format and printed at 70mm.

These many reels had been sitting, untouched, in the archives. Read a story about it in Vanity Fair.

The film producers spent a considerable amount in scanning these reels – and you can get a feel for the quality just from the trailer.

For example, there’s the walkout footage in Moonwalk One.

and compare it with a snippet of the same footage in the new transfer.

(In addition to the 70mm film. there are new transfers of the 16mm film shot in the MOCR, with audio manually added to many scenes for the first time, using newly-transferred audio from the 30 channel console recordings.)

No news yet on when the film will be released, but it should be the best of the lot.

 

01 December 2018

New films in the pipeline for the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11

In time for the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11, several documentaries are in the pipeline.

One, aptly named Apollo 11, promises to be very good indeed.

Here’s the description of the movie from the 2019 Sundance Film Festival website, where the film will have its world premiere.:

 

APOLLO 11 / U.S.A. (Director: Todd Douglas Miller, Producers: Todd Douglas Miller, Thomas Petersen, Evan Krauss) — A purely archival reconstruction of humanity's first trip to another world, featuring never-before-seen 70mm footage and never-before-heard audio from the mission. World Premiere.

Here’s the teaser trailer.


One of Australia’s first space trackers dies

We’re sorry to report that Ernest “Ned” Kelly, one of Australia’s first space trackers, has died in Queensland.

Ned manned the Minitrack station set up at Woomera’s Range G in 1958. Hear an interview with him recorded in 2014.

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Ned Kelly at the Mod1 Minitrack Console at Island Lagoon in 1962. 

Photo: Bruce Window.


This footage shows Ned at the original Woomera 108MHz Minitrack in 1961.

Frame from a Department of Supply film.

 

 

Apollo 8 Book Recommendation

If you are looking for a great book on Apollo 8, it would be hard to go past “Rocket Men: The Daring Odyssey of Apollo 8 and the Astronauts Who Made Man’s First Journey to the Moon” by Robert Kurson.

It’s well researched and well told. It’s not too technical, and would give anyone a very good insight into the challenges of the mission, the political and social context, and worldwide impact of the mission. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

In addition to the printed version, the audio book read by Ray Porter, is also very good.

 

 

27 October 2018

Honeysuckle Creek – The story of Tom Reid, a little dish, and Neil Armstrong's First Step”
to be published on Thursday 1st November.

Honeysuckle featured photo
Honeysuckle featured
Honeysuckle Creek
The story of Tom Reid, a little dish, and Neil Armstrong’s First Step

by Andrew Tink.

To be released 01 November 2018.

From the front cover:

“A wonderful and inspirational story, beautifully told. As hard as it is to do this extraordinary yarn justice, Andrew Tink has done it.” – Peter FitzSimons.

From the back cover:

“Honeysuckle Creek reveals the pivotal role that the tracking station at that location, near Canberra, played in the first moon walk.

Andrew Tink gives a gripping account of the role of its director Tom Reid and his colleagues in transmitting some of the most-watched images in human history as Neil Armstrong took his first step.

Part biography and part personal history, Honeysuckle Creek makes a significant contribution to the story of Australia’s role in space exploration.”

Available from NewSouth Books and other booksellers.

Also available in Kindle format from Amazon (and perhaps other sellers).

Click the images for larger versions.

25 October 2018

Royal Australian Mint to release Moon Landing Coins 1st November

In time for the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11, the Royal Australian Mint is releasing sets of six coins, on Thursday 1st November.

There will be two coins in that set (the 5 cent piece and the one dollar coin) specifically related to Apollo 11.

There will be two sets available –

2019 Six Coin Uncirculated Year Set –
Moon landing $25.00 RRP

2019 Six Coin Proof Year Set –
Moon landing $100.00 RRP

From here – and they will be available from 8:00am on 1st November at these coin swap locations in Sydney, Brisbane, Canberra and Melbourne.

Update 01 November: Here is a scan from the Royal Australian Mint’s catalogue – PDF file.

and, below, a detail of the coins from the catalogue.

See also the text on the back of the uncirculated coins set.

coins

 

 

01 October 2018

Revolutions in Science – 60 years of NASA/JPL Space Exploration

CDSCC is hosting a free public talk by JPL Deputy Director, Larry James on Wednesday 17th October at 6:30pm at Questacon. 

News and Jottings

JPL Deputy Director, Larry James, is speaking at Questacon on Wednesday 17th October at 6:30pm.

Please visit Eventbrite to book your free tickets.

Click the image above for a larger banner (JPG, 1.1MB), or click here for a poster (JPG, 4.1MB).

Thanks to Glen Nagle at CDSCC for the heads-up about this, and the poster and banner.

 

01 October 2018

New Manned Spaceflight Operations Association website.

Check out the new website from the Manned Spaceflight Operations Association in Houston. 

The site is still a work in progress.

News and Jottings

http://www.mannedspaceops.org.

 

March 2018

Google Street View released for Honeysuckle and Orroral
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Orroral Valley

Google Trekker

Honeysuckle Creek

Thanks to ACT Parks and Conservation Service and many helpers, Street View imagery has been added to Google Maps – of Honeysuckle Creek, the track to the Collimation Tower, and also of Orroral Valley!

News and Jottings

25 May 2017

We’re very sad to report the death of Neil “Fox” Mason, this week, at Parkes.

Fox was well known to many trackers, and was the Telescope Driver at Parkes, most famously during the Apollo 11 EVA.

While, of course, being focussed on the radio astronomy work of Parkes, Neil spoke with pride and fondness of his work with the space trackers – especially those who were at Parkes during Apollo 11 and the J missions.

He will be sadly missed.

Fox was interviewed for “One Small Step, The Australian Story”, in 2009.

Fox Mason

Neil “Fox” Mason at Parkes in July 2014.
Photo by Colin Mackellar.

 

06 June 2016

The 40th Anniversary of the Viking 1 landing on Mars is coming up next month (July 2016).

Rachel Tillman from The Viking Mars Missions Education and Preservation Project is keen to contact trackers (and others) who were involved in supporting the wonderful Viking Project.

Viking 40th

For more info contact:

Rachel Tillman
Founder / Director / Daughter of Viking
The Viking Mars Missions Education and Preservation Project
http://www.thevikingpreservationproject.org
https://www.facebook.com/VikingMarsMission
https://twitter.com/MarsVikingTeam

 

01 March 2016

We’re very sad to report the death of Cliff Smith at Parkes on 25th February 2016.

John Sarkissian writes:

“Cliff worked at the telescope from its inception. He helped build the telescope and was at the opening ceremony on 31 October 1961 where, among other duties, he was responsible for unfurling the Australian flag at the top of the focus cabin. He was the site foreman for many years before he retired in 1986.

On 21 July 1969, he was one of the people present at Parkes for the historic Apollo 11 moonwalk. Cliff was responsible for the mechanical operation of the dish and was prepared to hand-crank the dish to track Apollo 11 on the Moon in case of a power failure.”

Cliff Smith

Cliff Smith, as interviewed for the 2009 documentary “One Small Step: The Australian Story”. (Youtube.)

Image courtesy Freehand International Pty. Ltd.
Image capture by Colin Mackellar.


Many trackers from Honeysuckle and Tidbinbilla worked with Cliff during Parkes’ support of the Apollo missions. We were delighted that Cliff was able to join us in Canberra for the 45th anniversary of Apollo 11 on 21st July 2014.

Cliff Smith

Cliff Smith, left, with Ben Lam (Parkes), John Saxon (Honeysuckle) and Neil ‘Fox’ Mason (Parkes) at the Apollo 11 45th anniversary luncheon in Canberra, 21st July 2014.
Photo: John Sarkissian.


Cliff Smith

Cliff Smith at the Parkes opening ceremony, 31st October 1961. At left, facing the camera, is Governor-General Lord De L’Isle.

CSIRO photo via John Sarkissian.


Cliff Smith

Cliff Smith (left) and Ben Lam working on the Azimuth Track bolts at Parkes, 1960s. CSIRO photo via John Sarkissian.



Photo of the Parkes dish by Keith Aldworth.

 

12 February 2016

The ACT Heritage Council has granted the Honeysuckle Creek and Orroral Valley sites heritage status.

Here’s a report from the ABC.

Earlier, related story, from the ABC: Dishing the dirt on moon landing – 22 July 2009.

 

30 December 2014

SAVE THE DATE!

TIDBINBILLA 50th ANNIVERSARY IN-HOUSE EVENT – THURSDAY 19th MARCH 2015


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(Click the image for a version with names.)

From Glen Nagle at CDSCC –

The Canberra Deep Space Communication Complex (CDSCC) will be holding a lunch and celebratory event marking the 50th anniversary of the official opening of the Tidbinbilla tracking station on Thursday 19th March 2015 – 11:00am to 2:00pm.

We would like to invite ex-employees of the Tidbinbilla facility to join current staff and management for an in-house event to mark this milestone.

There will be a few speeches (of course!) but mostly a chance to get together over lunch, to retell funny stories, recall amazing history-making moments and join with fellow Tidbinbilla alumni to reminisce about the incredible times we’ve shared over the past 50 years.

To help us plan the event and get an idea of the numbers we can possibly expect, we invite you to add your name and contact details, plus a little information on your role at Tidbinbilla on a special Google document page we have set up.

If you think you are interested in or likely to attend the anniversary event at CDSCC, please contact Colin Mackellar for the link to reply to the event.

As we develop our event plan, we will send out further information by email.

If you have any questions, please contact us via email – pr@cdscc.nasa.gov

We look forward to hearing from you.

Regards
Glen Nagle
Event Coordinator



17 November 2014

Conversations

Mike Dinn ABC Radio interview.

Mike was interviewed by Richard Fidler on his Conversations programme on ABC Radio across Australia on Wednesday 12th November 2014.

Listen here. (Also linked from Mike’s page.)



28 April 2014

See the invitation for the 45th anniversary of the Apollo 11 landing on Monday 21st July. PDF file.

01 February 2014

All Apollo trackers – the 45th anniversary of the Apollo 11 landing is coming up on Monday 21st July.

There are discussions on a low key (perhaps informal) gathering in Canberra on the day – around lunchtime. If you’re interested, please mark it on your calendar now.

 

07 October 2013

There is sad news today that Kevyn Westbrook has died in Canberra.

Kevyn was a veteran of Muchea, where he was the Communications Supervisor during Project Mercury. He was closely involved in the installation of Carnarvon, before leading the installation and operation of the Australian NASCOM Switch at Deakin for Apollo.

Kevyn was so kind as to record a number of interviews for this website, and we hope to make them available in the not-too-distant future.

Kevyn Westbrook at Muchea

Kevyn Westbrook in the Comms room at Muchea, 1961.


Lees and Westbrooks

Ken & Liz Lee (left) chat with Kevyn and Joan Westbrook at the opening of Honeysuckle Creek, 17th March 1967. Photo: Martin Geasley.


Kevyn Westbrook

Kevyn with Hamish Lindsay and Colin Mackellar, February 2012.
Photo: John Saxon.

 

12 August 2013

Peter Pockley

Vale Peter Pockley, pioneering Australian Science Broadcaster.

 

04 March 2013

Coming up on Saturday April 13, 2013, DSS43 40th anniversary celebrations at Tidbinbilla.

 

01 August 2012

Philip Clark has been hard at work on his book on Orroral Valley Tracking Station. At about 450 pages, with over 500 photos and illustrations, 123 in colour, “Acquisition” should be the definitive work on ORR. The foreword is by the Governor General of Australia, Her Excellency Ms Quentin Bryce, AC, CVO.

It’s hoped the book will be launched in the next few weeks. Philip writes:

“At this time the price will probably be about $59.95 but this is subject to final printing. Packing and shipping outside the Canberra area but within Australia will be around $12.50.”

The book launch will be on Wednesday 3 October at 2:00 pm in the ACT Legislative Assembly building, Civic Square, Canberra.

Update 04 October:

It’s now available from Philip Clark at philclark@iprimus.com.au. – and also from a number of bookshops in Canberra, including Questcon and the National Library bookshops.


01 November 2011

Tom Sheehan has pointed out a terrific article on the founding of the Manned Spacecraft Center, 50 years ago – it’s in the October 2011 issue of JSC’s ‘Roundup’. It’s a 12MB PDF file available here. (Direct link to PDF.)

High resolution versions of the photos used on the article can be found here. (Thanks to Syd Buxton for the link.)

 

25 May 2011

Apollo 17 astronaut Harrison Schmitt and former Senator has called for NASA to be replaced by a “new agency, the National Space Exploration Administration (NSEA), [to] be charged with specifically enabling America’s and its partners’ exploration of deep space”.

A collection of his writings on US directions in space is entitled “Space Policy and the Constitution”, and it has a Foreword by former NASA Adminstrator Michael Griffin. It’s available on his website and also here as a 2.2MB PDF file. The call for a new agency is in the Preface, on page 11 of the PDF (or page xi of the document.)

 

25 May 2010 – AIAA event at Tidbinbilla

AIAA Booklet

This booklet was produced by The American Insititute of Aeronautics and Astronautics for the event at Tidbinbilla on 25th May 2010.

Click the image above to download a 2.2MB PDF file. (Thanks to Glen Nagle for this copy.)


 

17 May 2010 – Honeysuckle Creek, Tidbinbilla and Orroral Valley to be designated as Historic Aerospace Sites

AIAA invitation

AIAA plaque

It’s been announced that The American Insititute of Aeronautics and Astronautics is designating Honeysuckle Creek, Tidbinbilla and Orroral Valley as Historic Aerospace Sites.

There’ll be a ceremony at Tidbinbilla / CDSCC on Tuesday 25th May 2010.
All are invited to attend. There’ll be a simple plaque unveiling (see above) followed by some light refreshments. Please note the RSVP date of 18th May – click on the invitation at top left for a 2MB PDF file).

From the AIAA Press Release:

“The Sydney Section of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) is proud to announce that the Tidbinbilla, Honeysuckle Creek and Orroral Valley Space Tracking Stations have been designated as global AIAA Historic Aerospace Sites. This is a prestigious award which recognises the significant role these three Australian tracking stations have played throughout the space-faring era, particularly in support of NASA’s manned space missions. It is a fitting tribute that these sites should be recognised in this way in 2010, the 50th anniversary of treaty-level cooperation between the Australian Government and NASA.

The AIAA established the Historic Aerospace Sites Program in 2000 to promote the preservation of, and the dissemination of information about, significant accomplishments made in the aerospace profession.
Other sites recognised by the AIAA History Technical Committee include NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, CA; the Boeing Red Barn, Seattle, Wash.; Kitty Hawk, N.C.; the site of the first balloon launch in Annonay, France; the Royal Aircraft Research Establishment at Farnborough, England; and Tranquility Base on the moon. Currently Woomera is the only other AIAA Historic Aerospace Site in Australia.

The AIAA Sydney Section is pleased to invite you to attend a ceremony at the Canberra Deep Space Communication Complex, Tidbinbilla, ACT, at 10am on Tuesday 25 May to formally designate the Tidbinbilla, Honeysuckle Creek and Orroral Valley Space Tracking Stations as AIAA Historic Aerospace Sites. The sites will be formally designated and a plaque unveiled by AIAA President Mr David Thompson, founder and CEO of Orbital Sciences Corporation. The ceremony will also be attended by AIAA Executive Director Mr Bob Dickman (Major General, United States Air Force, retired).”



 

Apollo 11 40th Anniversary Celebrations and Reunion: Sunday 19th – Wednesday 22nd July 2009

Several days of celebrations and get-togethers for all who supported Apollo (Honeysuckle, Tidbinbilla, Carnarvon, Parkes, Orroral, NASCOM, PMG, OTC, and others further afield!) to be held in Canberra.

From John Saxon:

“On Tuesday 21 July 2009 at lunch time, it will be exactly 40 years since Neil Armstrong first stepped onto the Lunar surface. We (the ex-Apollo workers and families) intend to celebrate the event with a multi-day reunion culminating with a lunch ‘on the day on the hour’.

We already have people from the U.S.A. and U.K. who intend to come, as well as from around Australia. Realistically this may be the last occasion that a major Apollo anniversary reunion will be organised by those who were actively worked on the project.”

Events in Canberra and at Honeysuckle Creek and at Tidbinbilla comprise the Canberra Apollo celebrations.


Apollo 11 40th anniversary logo

Canberra and Honeysuckle Creek

The events, adapted from John Saxon’s website, are –

Day 1 – Sunday 19th July

Quiet catch up and pre-register at the Southern Cross Club in Woden. We’ll be there from 10am to 3 or 4pm. Come for lunch and drinks (own cost).

Day 2 – Monday 20th July

Coach or private transport to CDSCC (Canberra Deep Space Communications Complex) for several events. They include a farewell to the ex-Honeysuckle antenna due to be de-commissioned within days and Lunch. (To come, please sign up through John’s website.)

Then on to the HSK site – to dedicate a Plaque to all who worked at HSK and also bury a time capsule.

Day 3 – Tuesday 21st July

This is the signature event. Long lunch: 11am to 4pm or so! To be held in the ballroom of the Woden Southern Cross Club’s brand new ‘Events Centre’.

‘On the day on the hour’ we’ll replay the first steps on the Lunar surface using Honeysuckle’s video feed. There’ll be a souvenir DVD available and many other activities. $50 each – sign up through John’s website.

Day 4 – Wednesday 22nd July

A special showing of two Apollo movies never seen before in Australia at QUESTACON – just near Old Parliament house – Live From the Moon and The Wonder of it All. (To come, you will need to sign up through John’s website.)

Read the latest plans – and book – via John Saxon’s website

You can also send a message to John (with a copy to Colin) via this form.


Live from the Moon
Official Tidbinbilla 40th anniversary logo

Tidbinbilla

EVENT: Live from the Moon
WHEN: Monday, 20th July 2009
TIME: 10:30am to 12:30pm
WHERE: Canberra Deep Space Communication Complex

Ex-tracking staff and guests are invited to attend ‘Live from the Moon’ at the Canberra Deep Space Communication Complex on Monday 20th July 2009.

This event commencing at 10:30am will commemorate the historic first steps on the Moon in July 1969.

Speeches from representatives of Tidbinbilla, CSIRO and the United States will recognise the important role that the teams from Honeysuckle Creek, Tidbinbilla and Parkes played in the Apollo XI mission.

This will also be a time to ceremonially farewell the 26-metre antenna Deep Space Station 46 (HSK’s original DSS-44 antenna) which will end its space tracking life in August 2009. A plaque will be unveiled in its honour.

Following the ceremony, invited guests will enjoy a light lunch in the DSS46 Support Building adjacent to the antenna grounds.

A specially minted coin will also be given to attendees to commemorate this historic day.

(Ex-tracking staff and invited guests need to book through John Saxon to be a part of this event.)

Read more on the Tidbinbilla activites at the CDSCC website.


John Saxon

Monday 20th July at 7:30pm, BBC Knowledge on Foxtel / Optus.

Television events

Several TV specials and news reports are planned for the 40th anniversary. In addition to Mark Gray’s Live from the Moon – the Story of Apollo Television (being premiered at Questacon on 22nd July), One Small Step: The Australian Story has been produced for the BBC Knowledge channel and will screen on Monday 20th July at 7:30pm (and repeat screenings).

See the Foxtel website for some of the programmes planned. And some excerpts have been posted here.


Other celebrations:

Parkes

Parkes Observatory is holding Open Days 18th–19th July 2009 – Details from the Parkes website and also on the IYA website.

Perth

Carnarvon Trackers’ Reunion
CRO Trackers 40th Anniversary Reunion Dinner
Bridgeleigh Reception Centre, Wanneroo, Western Australia
Saturday, 18th July 2009 – details from Terry Kierans’s website.

Carnarvon

There’ll be activities in Carnarvon July 28–30.

Madrid

Madrid MSFN Station (Frednedillas)

A number of anniversary activities are planned. Tomas Alonso writes –

July 11th 11:00am opening of the commemorative exhibition in the “Casa de la Cultura”.
Presentation explaining the role the MSFN, and in particular the Fresnedillas Apollo station, played in the exploration of the Moon.
The exhibition will remain open until July 20th.
During the week there will be activities for the kids related with the Apollo expeditions to the Moon.

July 20th Big group, old-timers, reunion at the “Casa de la Cultura” at 11:00am. Tribute of Fresnedillas town to the people who worked at the Apollo station until it closed.
Play back of Apollo 11 documentaries, including some of the excellent moonwalk footage received at HSK.
Comments on the memories the exhibition and the documentaries bring to the people involved in the Apollo 11 mission while we have a Spanish wine with some good “aperitivos”.
Next we are planning to visit the grounds of the Fresnedillas Apollo station, today home of a Department of Defense station. This visit is not confirmed yet.
Farewell to the 26m Apollo antenna, located at MDSCC and decommissioned a few months ago.
Finally group lunch at a restaurant in Fresnedillas.”

(More details from Tomas Alonso at MDSCC.)

 

Echoes of Apollo

‘Echoes of Apollo’

Read about the proposed Moonbounce activities for World EME day (June 27th 2009) and other activites being organised by Robert Brand (ex-OTC) and Robert Brand and Pat Barthelow and friends at Echoes of Apollo.

 

Powerhouse Discovery centre at Castle Hill, Sydney

At the Discovery Centre at Castle Hill, Powerhouse Curator of Space Technology is speaking on “Apollo to the Moon: A 40th Anniversary Retrospective” – 11:30am Saturday 11th July. Details on this PDF file.

 

Space Association of Australia in Melbourne

Peter Aylward advises us of two events planned for Melbourne –

Event 1 MOVIE: The Right Stuff - Apollo 11 40th Anniversary Event.

Event 2 : Rolling Apollo 11 footage will feature on the Big Screen at Melbourne’s Federation Square across the weekend of July 18-19, 2009.

Full details at The Space Association website.


Also for your enjoyment:

For All Mankind

A Musical Tribute to Apollo 11 by Graham Smith.

Hear highlights and found out how to get it at his website – www.forallmankind.co.uk.

(Graham has kindly made his music available for the DVD being put together for the 40th anniversary lunch in Canberra.)

For All Mankind

 


 

Low key Honeysuckle Picnic – Sunday April 13th 2008

John Saxon writes:

“There will be a highly informal Picnic at the Honeysuckle site on Sunday 13th April from around 11am. BYO everything (including memorabilia) if you would like to reminisce with some of the ‘old crew’. ” Please don’t forget that the Tharwa Bridge is closed.



 

Australia Post Stamp Launch

2nd October 2007

Australian Space Stamps
The Australian space stamps. Image courtesy of Australia Post.

 

To commemorate the 50th anniversary of the beginning of the Space Age with the launch of Sputnik 1 (4th October), Australia Post has released a series of six stamps.

Low-key launches for the stamps were held in the mainland Australian capital cities. – See some photos here.