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Australian participation in Apollo 9 mission



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FOR PRESS :

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AUSTRt^LI1 T PA.RTICIPJ : TION IN APOLLO 9 MISSION

Statement by the Minister for Supply, Senator the Hon. Ken Anderson

Three Australian tracking stations will support NASA's

Apollo 9 10—day manned earth—orbital mission scheduled to start at

2 a.m. (Just. E.S.T.) on March 1.

The Minister fof Supply, Senator Ken Anderson, said this in

Canberra today, February 27.

Carnarvon (WA) will be the prime Australian station for the

mission; the two others are Honeysuckle Creek and Tidbinbilla,

(both A.C.T.). Together, these three stations will track the spacecraft an& relay commands, telemetry and voice communications between the spacecraft and the Mission Control Center at Houston, Texas..

Senator Anderson said : "Apollo 9 is a vital step in the Apollo

program, as the mission involves the first manned space test of the lunar module in which two astronauts will land on the moon,

"On behalf of the Australian Government and people, and especially on behalf of the Australian Space—tracking teams involved

in the mission, I wish the Apollo 9 crew best of luck.'.

Carnarvon will support 70 of the 151 orbits planned for

Apollo 9+ Hawaii is the only land—based station to support more orbits(71), The SPAN (Solar Particle Alert Network) Group at Carnarvon will

again report any excessive radiation from solar events, so that the

network and the astronauts can be warned.

Equipment at Carnarvon will be manned 16-18 hours a day.

Actual tracking periods will be contained in "slots" of from eight

to ten hours, each slot containing four to eight passes.

About an hour after launch, Honeysuckle Creek will trace the spacecraft on its first orbit. On succeeding days the station will track about five passes a day, similar to the Apollo 7 mission.

During the separation of the lunar module from the command— service module, Honeysuckle Creek will support one or both spacecraft four times; it is expected that Tidbinbilla will also provide support in this period..

According to the latest information all three Apollo 9 astronauts have a mild sore throat and nasal congestion for which they are being treated. A decision as to whether this may cause the launching to be delayed for one or two days, is expected to be made at midnight tonight, Australian E.S.T.

CANBERRA Februar y 27,_ 1969