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Apollo 10 mission will involve three Australian stations



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FOR PRESS : 258

APOLLO 10 MISSION WILL INVOLVE THREE AUSTR/ LIAN STATIONS

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

Three Australian tracking stations - Carnarvon, Honeysuckle

Creek and Tidbinbilla - will again play an important role in the

Apollo program in connection with the launch of Apollo 10,

scheduled for 2.50 a.m. (Australian Eastern Standard Time) on

May 19, 1969.

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

Cnaberra today, May 14.

The eight-day Apollo 10 mission - a combination of the

Apollo 8 and Apol1d 9 missions - is designed to take Thomas P. STAFFORD (commander), John W. YOUNG (command module pilot) and Eugene A. CERNAN (lunar module pilot) into lunar orbit.

During the lunar phase of some 62 hours, Stafford and Cernan

will board the lunar modules separate 9 and descend to with .n 5O OOO ft.- of the lunar surface before returning (after about eight hours' separation) to dock with the orbiting command-and-service module and a return to earth.

Carnarvon will be a prime station for the earth-orbit phase

of the mission.

During this period, which lasts for two or three orbits,

a complete check-out of the spacecraft is performed.

Carnarvon's Unified S-Band (USB), V HF and FPQ-6 radar will be tracking the combined Apollo spacecraft and third stage (Saturn-IV)

up to loss of signal on the second earth orbit.

After this, the Carnarvon USB will track until the re-entry

period when the radar will again pick up the spacecraft.

After trans-lunar injection, the station will track the spacecraft to lunar distance and through lunar orbits Li. to 9

and 16 to 21.

The longest period that the station will be manned without

a major break is from launch minus 11 hours to the end of the

first trans-lunar coast pass - about 31 hours.

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During the whole of the mission the Carnarvon SPAN (Solar Particle Alert Network) group will observe and report on solar flare activity to ensure that adequate warning of excessive radiation from solar events can be given to the network and

space-craft crew.

As in Apollo 8, the Canberra complex of Honeysuckle Creek and Tidbinbilla stations will be prime for the lunar phases of

Apollo 10 several hours each day, as are Goldstone (U.S.) and

Madrid (^;;ain), The complex will track the spacecraft for a short while about one hour after launch in the first of two planned earth orbits before the -re-ignition of the third-stage engine over Australia

in the second orbit places the spacecraft on a flight path to the moon.

For the three-day trans-lunar coast, the complex will track for about eight hours a day.

After lunar orbit is achieved, 1 1.} of t .planned 32 lunar

rcvolutiom will be tracked by the complex.

On the twelfth orbit, the lunar module - with Stafford and Cernan aboard - will separate and twice descend to within 50,000

ft. of the lunar surface, the first time with both descent and ascent stages joined, the second after jettisoning the descent

stage.

These activities were exercised for the first time in a.

manned configuration during the earth-orbit Apollo 9 mission.

As in Apollo 8, the critical firing of the service propulsion engine for the return to earth will occur behind the moon, and again the Canberra complex will be tracking as the spacecraft

comes around the edge of the moon, and will be the first to relay

voice and data on the success of the firing.

About 22- hours of tracking will be involved at Honeysuckle

Creek and Tidbinbilla during the 55-hour return journey.

The complex will be the last ground station to track the spacecraft minutes before it re-enters the earth's atmosphere

over the New Hebrides on the way to splash-doom some 400 miles south-east of the Samoan Islands at about 2.54 a.m. (A.E.S.T.)

on May 27.

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Both Carnarvon and the Canberra stations are vital

communications links between the spacecraft and the astronauts on the one hand, and the Mission Control Center at Houston (Texas)

on the other hand.

The Canberra complex communicates with Houston via the NASA

Communications Center at Deakin (Canberra) and the Goddard Space

Plight Center at Greenbelt, Maryland, U.S.

Carnarvon is in touch with Houston via the OTC earth-satellite

station at Carnarvon, although stand-by circuits are available

through PMG/OTC-leased lines via Deakin.

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May 14, 1969 - P.M.