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Australian tracking stations to support Apollo 12



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No. 52

776

FOR PRESS

AUSM`iLIAIT T u1C fl?G STATIONS TO E JP ORT APOLLO 12

(Statement by the Lanister for Supply, Senator Yen Anderson)

Carnarvon, Honeysuckle Creek, Tidbinbilla and Deakin, four of the seven

space-tracking stations and communications establishments which the Department of

Supply operates for NASA in Australia, will again play a vital role in the

Apollo 12 mission scheduled to start at 2.22 a.m. (lust. EST) on November 15.

The 1:linister for Supply, Senator Ken Anderson, said this in Sydney

today (Nov. 10).

Apollo 12 will occupy just over 10 days, two days longer than Apollo 11

and the longest lunar mission to date.

This, coupled with the additional lunar exploration time and other

activities scheduled during their view periods, means that the Australian stations

will be fully occupied with their task of maintaining tracking and connnunications

during this further stele in man's exploration of the moon.

Carnarvon is prime for earth orbits 1 and 2. "Go" for the trans-lunar

injection will be sent through the station during the second revolution.

Support during the trans-lunar coast will be for three 12-hour periods.

Lunar orbits 2 -7, 14-20, 27-32 and 39-45 will be in Carnarvon's view.

The station expects to be prime when the scientific experiments (AL`)

are activated during the first moon walk scheduled for November 19.

Carnarvon will probably be called up for support of the Lunar L: odule' s

take-off from the iioon and the docking operation with the Command-and-Service Liodule.

Carnarvon is normally called up as prime station during the last few hours

of the return to earth, and this seems particularly likely on this mission because

of the return path and splash-down point.

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2.

Carnarvon's Apollo 12 sup:ort -- involving about 115 hours of active

tracking -- will extend from about 12 hours before launch until splash-down, with

the station manned for 18-hour periods and at stand-by for six lours.

In addition the station expects to be engaged with _!.LS] for commands

and data collection for 45 days from activation.

The experiments will be in view about 12 hours each day.

The A.C.T. complex of Ioneysuc:le Creek and Tidbinbilla will track

Apollo 12 for several minutes about an hour after launch during the first

earth orbit.

After successful trans-lunar injection at 5.06 a.h.. the complex will

begin sustained trans-lunar tracking at about 1 130 p.m. for some 11 hours.

Similar periods of about 1a hours will be involved on November 16-17.

Contrary to previous lunar missions, the Apollo crew will be awake for 10

most of the tracking-to and from the moon -- b r the complex.

On acquisition at about 2.10 p.ra. on November 18,the joined CS1.ii and LL

will have just entered lunar orbit No. 1 and will be tracked on successive orbits

until loss of signal following orbit 6 at about 1.30 a.m, on November 19.

Each lunar orbit takes about two hours, of which some 40 minutes is spent

behind the moon and therefore out of view of ground stations.

The complex should acquire just before 3 p.m. on November 19 as the LLI

separates from the CS1.1 and begins descent to the lunar surface. Landing should be

at about 4.57 p.m.

The descent and landing phases will be in the joint view of the Goldstone

and A.C.T. complexes, to be joined by the CSIRO's 210-ft. radio-telescope at Parkes

just before touch-down.

The first lunar exploration, scheduled to start at 9 p.m., will last

1. 321; hours.

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3.

In this time the Australian stations will be the prime linis between

the ITouston L.ission Control Centre and the astronauts on and around the moon.

Following return to the LA at about 12.30 a.m. on i yovember 20,

tracking will continue until loss of signal just before 2 a.m., when the C is

about to begin orbit 19.

At acquisition just before 4 p.m. on November 20, the second exploration

period of 36 hours should just have started.

This period will be tracked by the Goldstone and A.C.T. complexes, to

be joined later by Parkes.

During this activity the astronauts are scheduled to visit and examine

the Surveyor 3 spacecraft, which has been on the lunarr surface for some 2 years.

Return to the I will be about 7 p. m. During both exploratory periods,

live TV -- similar to that seen on Apollo 11 -- should be available.

Lift-off of the Li:_ should occur at 12.30 a.m • on November 21, when

Australian stations will be t:.e only ones tracking.

Docking with the patiently-orbiting CS:i should occur at 4 a.m. during

Carnarvon t s and :adrid's view period.

Tidbinbilla is scheduled to track the II during its lunar stay,

Honeysuckle the orbiting CS Both stations can track either or both spacecraft.

On November 21 tracking will begin at about 4.20 p.m. when the CSK,

with all three astronauts aboard, will be in orbit 39.

The LE will have been jettisoned earlier, just before 6 a.m. and during

this day' s tracking the crew will be involved in navi nand photographic

activities.

Trans-earth injection is scheduled for 8.47 a.m. on iovember 22 during

Madrid's tracking, and on acquisition by the A.C.T. complex at 5.30 p.m.

Apollo 12 should be well on the way back house.

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4.

Tracking will continue until 3 a.m. on November 23, to be resumed at

6 p.m. on November 23 until 3 a.m. on November 24.

The final and longest tracking period will start at 6.30 .a.m. on

November 24 and end minutes before splash-down in the Pacific, east of Pao raGo,

at 7,04 a.ni. on November 25 in an are.e,similar to that of Apollo 10's landing.

The heart of NASA comiainications in Australia is at Deakin (Canberra)

where -- day and night -- oouputers transform, store and distribute information

to and from the astronauts, the i.1ssion Control Centre and the Australian stations.

SYDNEY . N ovember 10._ 1969 .