OTC Satellite Earth Station Carnarvon

OTC Satellite Earth Station Carnarvon

OTC Satellite Earth Station Carnarvon

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The OTC Satellite Earth Station Carnarvon was established to meet the need for more reliable and higher quality communications for NASA's Apollo Moon project. NASA contracted Australia's Overseas Telecommunications Commission (OTC) "to provide an earth station near Carnarvon, Western Australia to link the NASA tracking station in that area to the control centre in the USA", also contracting the COMSAT Corporation to launch three Intelsat-2 communications satellites.

TV and NASA-assist operations

The ‘sugar scoop’ antenna became operational on 29 October 1966 when Intelsat-2A, the first of the three satellites launched, gave OTC and the ABC a brief chance to test satellite TV communications as the satellite drifted to ignominious failure over the Indian Ocean. On 24 November 1966, test patterns for the first-ever live telecasts from Australia to England were successful. The next day, a live BBC television broadcast from a studio in London featured interviews linking UK families with their British migrant relatives standing in Robinson Street, Carnarvon.

The ‘sugar scoop’ became famous again on 21 July 1969, the day of the Apollo 11 moon landing, relaying Neil Armstrong's first steps on the Moon from NASA's Honeysuckle Creek Tracking Station, Canberra, to Perth's TV audience via Moree earth station - the first live telecast into Western Australia.

The OTC station’s eight years of communications...
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