Group Formed to Save Moon TV Dish

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Jan. 21, 2010

Stay of Execution Requested from NASA.

Sydney, Australia - The Moon dish that brought the Apollo 11 moon walk images to the world’s TV screens is slated to become little more than a statue near Canberra, the capital of Australia in just over a week .NASA is feeling the pinch during world economic crisis and is doing the best it can under the circumstances to make sure that the dish does not get turned into scrap metal, but Echoes of Apollo Australian manager Robert Brand says that Australia should do more. NASA has done the best it can under the circumstances, but cannot afford to keep the dish operational any longer. Even stripping it down and welding it in place as a monument will cost money, but it is all that NASA can afford during tough times. Once the gears are welded, it will never be able to be used again.

Students will be the Big Losers

Brand said “This dish was instrumental in bringing the world TV coverage of the first moon walk and kept the astronauts in touch with mission control with both voice and data. It deserves to be kept going for as long as we can afford to do so. This action comes at a time when Australia is looking at ways to stimulate students into studying for space careers. It is expected that government money will be made available for radio astronomy including dishes with remote access for the classroom. Why not use the Moon dish for this purpose. Yes, it will cost more, but imagine the effect on students of having access to the very same dish that was used for the Moon missions and was so important to ensuring that the crew of Apollo 13 made it back to earth safely.

Brand said that sponsorship and funds from a variety of areas be used to refurbish the dish and then operate it. It should see another 40 years if kept updated. Rather than having what would be little more than a static monument, this large dish would continue to stimulate and inspire children from around the world.

A Stay of Execution Requested from NASA

Brand said “We need a stay of execution from NASA while a newly formed group looks at ways of raising funds for the restoration and upgrade. If it cannot be done, then this is the next best option, but a headlong rush into oblivion for the dish is not the way.

The antenna known today simply as DSS46 was originally at Honeysuckle Creek, part of NASA’s Deep Space network. It was moved to its current location at Tidbinbilla between 1981- and 1983 and has been in active use every since tracking spacecraft around the solar system. Although many people around the world believe that the Parkes Radio Telescope brought us the moon landings, a windstorm prevented NASA from using them for the first part of the moonwalk and the first images came from Honeysuckle Creek. The movie “The Dish” was never meant to be a documentary.

Only last month, US Manager and Founder of Echoes of Apollo Pat Barthelow suggested a group be formed to manage old and abandoned dishes around the world and use them for a variety of purposes including education. NASA’s proposed action for the Moon dish has meant that we have to move very quickly with little more than a week to gather support we have had to accelerate the program. It is called SOSS – Save Our Space-comms Systems and has over 400 members so far – for information about joining the group please join the mailing list at and select “SOSS” Amateur radio operators are also interested in access to the dish for major events such as World Moon Bounce Day.

Contact Robert Brand for more information: intl +61 2 95727246

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NASA Information about the dish:
Deep Space Station DSS 46
Constructed: Originally constructed in 1965 at the Honeysuckle Creek Tracking Station for the Apollo missions, this antenna received the first images of Neil Armstrong walking on the Moon. In 1983 it was relocated to Tidbinbilla and modified. The X-Y configuration and small dish size allow it to move rapidly, making it ideal for tracking near-Earth spacecraft.
Axes Configuration: X-Y
Reflector Size: 26 metres
Height: 35 metres
Transmitting Bands: S band (2025–2120 MHz)
Receiving Bands: X band (8400–8500 MHz) S band (2200–2300 MHz)
Reflector Accuracy: within 1.2 mm
Pointing Accuracy: within 0.1°
Turning Rate: 5° per second but limited to 3° per second
High Wind Parameters: Stow at steady winds of 72km/h or gusts at or above 88km/h Design maximum survivable 160km/h
- end –
Robert Brand
Events Manager
Echoes of Apollo - the World's Biggest Space Party

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