Opening of Honeysuckle Creek Tracking Station
Honeysuckle Creek Tracking Station was opened by Australian Prime Minister Harold Holt on 17 March 1967.
Tecwyn Roberts, who at the time was Head of the Manned Flight Operations Division at the Goddard Space Flight Center, was included as one of the official guest. Other guests included –
Dr. Robert Seamans, Deputy Administrator of NASA
Edmund C. Buckley, Associate Administrator of NASA
John South, Goddard’s Representative to Australia
Christopher Kraft, Assistant Director for Flight Operations
Willson Hunter, NASA’s Senior Scientific Representative in Australia
Today, when people remember the Apollo Program, they think of the astronauts and the spacecraft. But none of it would have been possible without accurate tracking and reliable communications with Earth. And there certainly wouldn’t have been any TV from the Moon!
To support the Apollo Program, NASA’s Manned Space Flight Network (MSFN), based at the Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland, U.S.A., commissioned three 85 foot (26 metre) antennas – equally spaced around the world.
These were in Madrid (Spain), Goldstone (California, U.S.A.) and at Honeysuckle Creek in Australia.
Three prime Apollo stations were needed to provide continuous coverage at lunar distances, however, at distances out to approximately 16,000 km, there would be gaps in antenna coverage. For this reason, a number of smaller (9 metre) USB antennae, as well as tracking ships and ARIA aircraft were also employed for critical periods up to and including TLI and also re-entry.