Ed von Renouard working at Honeysuckle Creek Tracking Station in Australia was the first person to see images from the Apollo 11 moonwalk. Image courtesty of Bruce Ekert.
Six hundred million people, or one fifth of mankind at the time, watched Neil Armstrong's first steps on the Moonin 1969. But seeing live transmissions from that historic event wouldn't have been possible – and the Apollo missions wouldn't have possible either – without reliable communications and accurate tracking capabilities. To support the Apollo Program, NASA built the Manned Space Flight Network (MSFN) with three 85 foot (26 meter) antennas equally spaced around the world at Goldstone, California, Honeysuckle Creek, Australia and Fresnedillas (near Madrid), Spain. Because of the movie "The Dish" however, most people think the Parkes Radio Antenna was the only dish used in Australia. But the Honeysuckle Creek dish was the real star of the Apollo missions. Most notably, it supplied voice and telemetry contact with the lunar and command modules but it also provided the first televised pictures of the Apollo 11 moonwalk. "It was a job well done by many people all over the world," said Bruce Ekert, a technician with the Honeysuckle Creek Tracking Station. "When I reflect that we were part of history, it is still amazing that it came together and worked so smoothly." (...) Read the rest of How We *Really* Watched Television From the Moon (1,477 words)