Press Release #4

January 2019

Update on Australia’s celebration of the 50th anniversary of Apollo11

In July 1969, Neil Armstrong first set foot on the moon. Over 20% of the entire population of the earth were able to see those first pictures and were united in the joy of the achievement.

The TV would not have been possible without tracking stations around the world who provided communications support to NASA.

There were three major lunar distance tracking stations in Madrid Spain, Goldstone California and Honeysuckle here in the ACT. Honeysuckle was supported by nearby Tidbinbilla tracking station (now CDSCC) and the Parkes Radio Telescope. The first TV pictures were broadcast to the world from the Honeysuckle Creek station.

Apart from those stations there were several hundred people around Australia directly involved in supporting the Apollo missions. As well as the ACT stations there was another Apollo tracking station at Carnarvon in WA, and many workers in the PMG (now Telstra), the Overseas Telecommunications Commission (OTC) and other organisations, such as a NASA Canberra Switching Centre and Sydney TV/Video Switching Centre.

We are a group of mainly ex-Honeysuckle workers who consider themselves incredibly lucky to have been in the right place at the right time to have been employed during the Apollo missions. We are probably biased but the first step was the defining moment of the 20th century around the world, so arguably the most important peacetime event in the history of Canberra and the ACT.

We are now approaching the 50th anniversary and there are still a few of us left. So we are intent on celebrating the event over a 4 day period from Thursday 18th through Sunday 21st July 2019. It will be the biggest and best celebration yet and is already a huge worldwide event.

Many items on the list of potential events are already completed such as:

  • Filming is complete on 2 from a probable 4 documentary movies locally
  • The Questacon Science centre has deployed their 7M Diameter moon displaying actual Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter high resolution data
  • The Royal Australian mint has issued a set of 6 coins
  • At least 2 of the 4 books have already been published
  • Etc!

All are welcome to attend, but to keep things manageable we are limiting the overall numbers at 500, so if you would like to attend or find out more, visit our Web site at www.apollo50thaustralia.org

Best wishes – Australian Apollo11 Anniversary Committee