How Australian scientists saved the 1969 moon landing TV broadcast from disaster

Mail Online | 7/21/1969 | Stephen Gibbs for Daily Mail Australia
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It was one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind and just one little stumble away from disaster.

The broadcast of the moon landing was the most dramatic television broadcast of all time and it was a small group of Australians working under extreme pressure who made it a success.

Man - Moon - Years - Month - Half

Man first walked on the moon 50 years ago this month and for almost half that time two Australian scientific teams could not agree over who first beamed those historic images around the world.

Management of the tracking stations at Parkes, in central western New South Wales, and Honeysuckle Creek, near Canberra, each wanted to claim the honour.

Parkes - Observatory - Australia - Commonwealth - Scientific

The Parkes Observatory is run by Australia's Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) and Honeysuckle Creek was a NASA-led facility.

Not until 1993 - 24 years after the moon landing - did the two stations finally agree in writing which team deserved the credit for the transmission of the moon landing footage.

Release - Australian - Film - Dish - Version

The release in 2000 of the popular Australian film The Dish, which portrayed a dramatised version of the Parkes radio telescope's role in the operation, further muddied the truth.

The first grainy images of Neil Armstrong setting foot on the moon were sent out to 600million viewers around the world - one fifth of humanity - from the 26-metre antenna at Honeysuckle Creek.

Parkes - Quality - Coverage - Rest - Moon

Parkes soon took over and transmitted better quality coverage of the rest of the moon walk from its 64-metre satellite dish.

Tidbinbillla tracking station, now known as the Canberra Deep Space Communication Complex, also supported the Apollo 11 mission.

Fire - Power - Supply - Transmitter - Tidbinbilla

But a fire in the power supply of the transmitter at Tidbinbilla two days before the landing stopped it playing any role in the telecast.

Backup plans were formulated for every other conceivable problem.

Staff - Parkes

Staff at Parkes were taught how to manually move...
(Excerpt) Read more at: Mail Online
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