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Bob Rayner (AWA) remembering Apollo 11 AWA Tech’s Challenges

13 Aug 19
Greg Martyn
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Telecommunications Engineering needs recording.

AWA Field Engineers’ role in the NASA Apollo Missions

With all the excitement and reminiscing around the Apollo 11 mission and Man Walking on the Moon for the first time, Bob Rayner recalls details for this story.

Note: Parkes Telescope is Receive Only!

Have been reading and watching TV with interest regarding the Apollo 11 moonwalk mission particularly the almost exclusive coverage to the role played by the Parkes Telescope. This facility had a couple of drawbacks. It is receive only. It will not depress down to the horizon. Not good for orbits due to the horizon problem and the speed of movement. It is quite a massive structure, I have been up into it a few times.

How? Video Parkes and Honeysuckle Creek to OTC Sydney?

Getting to the point. No one has mentioned the problem of getting the video (analog those days) pics from Parkes Telescope and Honeysuckle Creek into the PMG (as this organisation was known) system to be passed to OTC and then Houston. Honeysuckle obviously had their voice and data circuits as it was being used for traffic both ways but apparently no video capability. Honeysuckle was a command station and transmits as well as receives. Had a 20 KW water cooled Klystron sitting under the dish.

Enter AWA Sydney and their Field Engineering section

Enter AWA Sydney and our little Field Engineering section. AWA at the time had several (don’t know how many) 7GHz Television microwave systems for hire. These were quite portable and housed in travel cum usage metal cases. Transmitter and receiver heads mounted directly behind the dish with a purpose made bracket which was bolted onto the dish and connected directly to horn feed. This then connected with a cable to the rest of the works in the travel cases. Dish and heads were normally then mounted on tripods and various means used to mount the whole thing to a tower or other site.

Maybe AWA’s involvement started with Apollo 8

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