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Thursday, 25 March 1965

Senator ANDERSON - I have obtained some information from the Minister for Supply. In passing, let me say that I agree with the honorable senator that so much has been happening in this field in the last few days that it is really quite an effort to keep up with all the events. It may well be within the memory of all of us here that, when we were very young children, our parents said to us: " Tell that to the man in the moon ", as a sort of answer to the flights of fancy of our childhood. But a man in the moon is a very real probability in the near future.

The Minister has informed me that the Australian deep-space tracking station at Woomera, in South Australia, played an important role in tracking the course of the highly successful United States Ranger 9 spacecraft which landed on the moon early today after taking several thousand close-up pictures of the moon's surface. According to early reports from American space research officials this morning, the Ranger 9 photographic spacecraft, with six television cameras on board, was another outstanding example of advanced technology in space research, and a further splendid example of the close cooperation in this field between the United States and the Commonwealth of Australia. Australian personnel at the Woomera tracking station maintained radio contact with Ranger 9 for several hours after it was launched from Cape Kennedy on Monday morning. The Woomera station tracked Ranger 9 again for 12 hours on Monday night, again on Tuesday for a long period, and for about 13 hours until 12.30 p.m. on Wednesday, 24th March.

Officers of the Department of Supply and private industry operations contractors at Woomera also successfully tracked Ranger 9 during the final stages of its long flight to the moon late last night and early this morning. Altogether, we can again feel pride in this wonderful scientific achievement and of the part taken by Australian scientists and technicians at our tracking stations, which we manage on behalf of America.

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