16 July 2009

That first step on the moon was our's damnit!

| johnboy
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With all the hoopla surrounding the 40th anniversary of the first landing on the moon (a feat we’re unable to replicate today) the Courier Mail has a definitive piece explaining how the ACT’s Honeysuckle Creek was the real hero of those iconic images, and not Parkes which stole the glory in “The Dish“, and from thence into popular culture.

    After years of confusion and controversy over whose pictures were used when, most now agree Honeysuckle Creek relayed the pictures of Armstrong’s historic first step.

    Houston then switched to Parkes for all but the first eight minutes or so of the two-and-a-half-hour broadcast.

    The reason? Armstrong caught everyone on the hop by deciding to venture out ahead of schedule.

    The astronauts were supposed to sleep for six hours, but who could sleep? They had just landed on the moon.

    Parkes was set up to be the main Australian station, but the moon had not quite risen there yet.

Sure, they did two hours and twenty odd minutes of astronauts goofing around on the lunar surface, but who gives a toss about that compared to the one small step?

[Photo courtesy of Colin Mackellar’s Honeysuckle Creek tribute page]

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Holden Caulfield10:55 pm 20 Jul 09

ABC has come to the party in a big way by the looks…

http://www.abc.net.au/science/moon/slideshow/

Holden Caulfield10:54 pm 20 Jul 09

Bit of credit given to Honeysuckle Creek on Lateline just now.

“Mein Führer! I can walk!”

on the moon that is

Dr Strangelove is simply brilliant.

Gentleman! You can’t fight in here, this is the war room!

Gungahlin Al10:05 pm 19 Jul 09

Pandy said :

Anna, you should watch Dr Strangelove.

God what a pathetic excuse for a movie. An hour or so of my life I’ll never get back…

Pandy said :

Anna, you should watch Dr Strangelove.

I was tempted to say that I can no longer sit back and allow Communist infiltration, Communist indoctrination, Communist subversion and the international Communist conspiracy to sap and impurify all of our precious bodily fluids. (thanks IMDB)

But I was worried JB might tell me off again

Anna, you should watch Dr Strangelove.

Sorry John, I’ll check for links in future. But I do distrust the Courier Mail since Comrade Bligh started the flouridation of Brisbane’s water supply

Anna Key said :

Pardon my ignorance, but can someone explain the Parkes and Honeysuckle Creek roles? I thought Parkes carried the tv footage but Honeysuckle handled the actual mission control stuff.

Or, y’know, read the article linked to in the post?

bingo berra, suggest anna watches the re-run of stateline, on abc (is it midday today?) which had an excellent piece on the matter last night – bet those chaps involved still pinch themselves to think ‘that was me!’

[an ex-ms astro’s father was the doctor at military parkes monitoring the astronauts; but wasn’t lampooned at all in ‘the dish’ and was most peeved ; ) ]

My understanding (more than happy to be corrected) is that Parkes was meant to do the transmission but due to Armstrong’s keen-ness to get down that ladder (who could blame him) Parkes weren’t ready with the link so our guys (yes, our guys!) at Honesuckle just sucked it up and did the job! When Parkes finally got their act into gear (some 8 minutes late) responsibility for the transmission was passed to them.

Pardon my ignorance, but can someone explain the Parkes and Honeysuckle Creek roles? I thought Parkes carried the tv footage but Honeysuckle handled the actual mission control stuff.

Danman said :

50km south from Tuggeranong, on Apollo Road – off Naas road is it ?

It’s not that far away, only on small step for (a) man really. It’s not like it’s on the moon or anything!

I can’t say I saw the moon landing (I was only 1) but I’m so very I’m glad I can tell my kids it happened in my lifetime. I was explaining to my son only this morning that out of all mankind that ever lived, only 12 people have ever been to the moon. Amazing, truly amazing.

Maybe its because it’s Friday, or maybe it because I’m tired, but I will never cease to be both amazed and proud that 1) we’ve been to the moon! and 2) that those few minutes of amazing grainy, black and white footage – seen around the world – was relayed around the world FROM THE MOON by this beautiful city. Parkes be damned.

Gungahlin Al said :

My dad had a friend who worked in the Deakin phone exchange (at least that’s what they *called* it 😉 )
He was able to sit with him and listen in on the transmissions between our bases and NASA.

I have PMG (Telstra)technical circuit diagrams and documents/operational journals of the NASCOM system which PMG managed on behalf of NASA, most equipment then housed on a floor at the ‘old’ Deakin exchange. (PMG provided the links and equipment for NASA) PMG played a major part in getting the images from Honeysuckle to the USA. These journals were written in 1969 and show exactly how the signals were derived and split to various endpoints. Signal was sent via radio from Honeysuckle to Williamsdale through to Red Hill, (when the radio masts were still inplace)down to Deakin exchange, then through the PMG terrestrial network to the OTC exchange in Sydney. A split was made at OTC for the benefit of Australian viewers. The signal was then sent via Hawai to the US. Puts any end to debate on who sent the first signals, go Honeysuckle!

In 1986 I was on a project where we had to re-commission the then ‘Telecom’ telco links and equipment through to Honeysuckle for comms for Army manouveres. At this stage the buildings had been vacant for a couple of years but were still in good condition and the generators were still working. Booners had not valdalised them yet.

Gungahlin Al said :

Thanks for the links. Looks like a great 4WD day tripping around all those old tracks. Maybe even a big loop through there then back up via Mt Franklin to home (after a snowfall…).

Nice idea but it’s “wilderness” so you cant even mountain bike, let alone drive from Franklin to Orroral. Pity as it is one of the best ACT rides…

(Or just walk into their shopfront at Symnonston… Be sure to take some small chldren along to see the shinypretties in the foyers)

ga.gov.au/sales

Unfortunately, Vandals have zero appreciation for the historical significance of buildings like this, and Orroral Valley.

I have it on quite reliable information that they were both being seriously considered as museums before the vandals had their way…

Such a waste to ruin something of such high sceintific significance…But then vandals only care for the hear and now sound of things breaking.

Gungahlin Al10:10 am 17 Jul 09

Thanks for the links. Looks like a great 4WD day tripping around all those old tracks. Maybe even a big loop through there then back up via Mt Franklin to home (after a snowfall…).
Where can you buy topo maps in Canberra?

GardeningGirl11:41 pm 16 Jul 09

Spectra said :

Such a shame that all that’s left of such an historic site is a bunch of concrete slabs and a couple of signs 🙁

So true 🙁

Holden Caulfield11:25 pm 16 Jul 09

Here’s a pic of the Honeysuckle Creek site I took back in 2006…

http://i256.photobucket.com/albums/hh177/Holden-Caulfield/Honeysuckle-01.jpg

I’ll add a few more in another post which jb will need to approve.

Yeah caf, I studied this sort of thing at uni and the way to stop it is to restrict access. Indeed studied the actual site in question.

Simple as that. Sadly, if people can get somehwere easily then they will vandalise it…

Isn’t that sad…

It’s staggering to consider that someone could be so committed to the cause of vandalising abandoned buildings, that they’d drive all the way out there just to smash some toilets.

Crappy… My links work not…

Orroral

Honeysuckle

50km south from Tuggeranong, on Apollo Road – off Naas road is it ?

Google maps does deliver…

Right Here

And dont forget Orroral Valley Tracking Station…On Orroral Road – which is off Boyoban Road which is off Naas Road…Confused??? Shrouded by clouds on this day unfortunately.

Felix the Cat7:58 pm 16 Jul 09

Gungahlin Al said :

And where is Honeysuckle Creek anyway (he says knowing he should just google it…) – I know I went there as a kid because I recognise it from the photo above.

Head out south past Tharwa and turn right into Apollo Rd – about 20km to Honeysuckle Creek from Tharwa.

Gungahlin Al6:24 pm 16 Jul 09

PS: my new 6 x 4m patch of turf is starting to look like that now too – yay for tank water.

Gungahlin Al6:23 pm 16 Jul 09

My dad had a friend who worked in the Deakin phone exchange (at least that’s what they *called* it 😉 )
He was able to sit with him and listen in on the transmissions between our bases and NASA.
I have to be satisfied with crowing that I watched the footstep on the only TV (tiny B&W) that Red Hill Primary had. My memory consists of teachers trying in vain to shush us all, and barely more than black and white blotches on the TV itself. But at least I saw it…
AndyM – great idea! And where is Honeysuckle Creek anyway (he says knowing he should just google it…) – I know I went there as a kid because I recognise it from the photo above.

Feathergirl, I hope to see snow this weekend…see post #2

The picture featured looks so different to what is at the Honeysuckle site now it is a little hard to believe it’s the same spot. The bush has really taken back the area. It’d be cold up there at this time of year, has anyone seen any snow up there if they’ve been up recently?

Holden Caulfield4:50 pm 16 Jul 09

Well, if nothing else, the road to the old Honeysuckle Creek site is a jolly nice one. Just watch out for the jump, haha!

The Honeysuckle Creek antenna is due to be decomissioned soon from Tidbinbilla. Wonder what is going to happen to it? Be nice to se it reinstalled back up at Honeysuckle if its just going to be scrapped.

Vandals made sure early that was all to be left spectra…

Indeed, but for such a piece of history, surely between NASA and the Australian government they could have found the spare change for a security guard or two…

After all there’ll never be another point in human history when, for the first time ever, we set foot on a celestial body other than Earth. It is, depending on your point of view (and certainly in my opinion), one of the defining moments in our history as a species.

Oh well – should’a, would’a, could’a. Can’t bring it back now 🙁

Pelican Lini3:44 pm 16 Jul 09

Parkes will be devastated at the loss of their (fake) ID.
Oh well, they’ve still got Elvis … sort of

I walked through both Honeysuckle and Orroral on the same day in ’89 during a bushwalk. 20 years ago! Yes the toilets were busted, and wiring stripped for the copper. Some of the equipment was still there but. The cooling oil in the transformers at the power station at Honeysuckle was spread all over the ground. Fascinating to go through the canteens and command rooms. Still one of my favourites sites for a picnic.

For anyone who is space cadet:http://wechoosethemoon.org/

Peewee Slasher3:08 pm 16 Jul 09

I’ve actually looked at the chart recorder paper that was measuring Neil Armstrongs heartbeat as he stepped onto the Moons surface. It peaked seriously.

NASA said dump everything and some employees were wise enough to keep a few souvenirs.

My heartbeat increased when I saw it, and heard from the man who was working there that day/night.

I believe he’s instrumental in the re-union that’s coming up.

Trunking symbols said :

One thing a lot of people don’t know is that the original NASA video of the moon landing went missing within days, presumably stolen. The film we have seen over the years was achieved by pointing a camera at the TV screen during the landing.

That was because the resolution between NASA’s footage and TV at the time was different.
And apparently they have recently found the original footage.

Trunking symbols2:24 pm 16 Jul 09

One thing a lot of people don’t know is that the original NASA video of the moon landing went missing within days, presumably stolen. The film we have seen over the years was achieved by pointing a camera at the TV screen during the landing.

Thanks for passing on the invites Al!

I was working out at Ororral Valley in 1989 and at that stage the buildings there were still standing but everything else including all the porcelain – toilets and hand basins were smashed.

The old Univac computer was still largely untouched – lol – it filled a room and had I think 4K of memory – as I plug in a 4Gig USB stick……..

For some reason the vandals had left it alone I wonder what ever happened to it.

Gungahlin Al1:31 pm 16 Jul 09

On this topic, have received the following open invites:
______________________________________________
The Canberra Branch of the Royal Aeronautical Society (RAeS) and the local section of the American Institute of Aeronautics & Astronautics
(AIAA) proudly presents

APOLLO 11 AND AUSTRALIA’S ROLE

by Mike Dinn – former Deputy Station Director, Honeysuckle Creek Tracking Station

Join Mike Dinn, former Deputy Station Director at Honeysuckle Creek Tracking Station, for a fascinating insight into Australia’s role in the Apollo 11 mission. July 21st is the 40th anniversary of Neil Armstrong’s first step on the Moon. Australia provided communications and tracking for the Apollo 11 mission, through the ACT’s Honeysuckle Creek and Tidbinbilla facilities, as well as CSIRO’s Parkes radio-telescope and WA’s Carnarvon. Mike will give an overview of the Apollo mission, the worldwide and Australian resources used, and present a short DVD showing the first step, with synchronised network audio. This includes the precise sequence of video sources selected by Houston for release to the world. The first step video came from Honeysuckle Creek.

This public lecture is FREE and all are welcome.

Date: Tuesday 21st July 2009 at 6:00pm
Location: Lecture Theatre 1, Building #30, Australian Defence Force Academy, Northcott Drive, Canberra For more information contact Andrew Neely via a.neely@adfa.edu.au No RSVP required.
________________________________________________
AS WE SHALL RETURN: NASA’S NEW INITIATIVE TO LAND ASTRONAUTS ON THE MOON

by Wayne Lee, Altair Vehicle Systems Manager, NASA JPL

This public lecture is FREE and all are welcome.

Date: Thursday 23rd July at 6:00pm
Location: Japan Theatre, Questacon, King Edward Terrace, Parkes, Canberra More info: Contact Michael via aiaa.sydneysection@gmail.com No RSVP required. All welcome.

Talk Summary
“As we shall return with peace and hope for all mankind.” Back in 1972, nobody thought 35 years would pass with that message from Apollo
17 commander Gene Cernan still standing as the last words transmitted from the surface of the Moon. Today, NASA is working to fulfill its pledge to return astronauts to the Moon by 2020. This time plans call for a crew of four to explore for up to seven days at a time with the eventual goals of possibly building a permanently occupied lunar base.
Doubling both the crew and stay time from the Apollo flights will take a booster larger than the original Saturn V Moon rocket and a lunar lander taller than a two-storey house.

In this talk Wayne Lee will describe NASA’s current lunar exploration plans as well as the gigantic machines currently under design to make it possible.

Speaker Biography
Wayne Lee is Altair Vehicle Systems Manager at NASA. Previously Wayne enjoyed great success as the mission planner for Mars operations at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. During the mission, Wayne would work with all the elements of the flight team to coordinate trajectories, science plans and spacecraft operations into the overall mission itinerary. Originally from San Diego, Calif., Wayne has degrees from Berkeley in electrical engineering and from the University of Texas in astronautics. Wayne has published a book on spaceflight mechanics for the layperson.

Whoever heard of grass that was green?!?!

Well, it is on the other side of that fence…

Sorry.

Thumper said :

Look at the grass in the photo!

That’s not grass! Whoever heard of grass that was green?!?! How ridiculous!

Look at the grass in the photo!

Wow! that is awesome. I wonder how they got the roo’s of the grass long enough to take the photo?

+1 Spectra.

Look at the grass in the photo!

Vandals made sure early that was all to be left spectra…

Ill be going to Orroral and Honeysuckle this weekend, doing comparative photo studies of now and then

Yay for space geekerism…a trip to Kennedy Space center made sure of that for years to come.

Such a shame that all that’s left of such an historic site is a bunch of concrete slabs and a couple of signs 🙁

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