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  Canberra Space Centre marks 25 Years

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Author Topic:   Canberra Space Centre marks 25 Years
Robert Pearlman

Posts: 27328
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 12-11-2005 05:30 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
On December 11, the visitor center at the Canberra Deep Space Communication Complex marks 25 years, and looks towards the future of space exploration.

NASA Feature: 25 Years of Education, Outreach & Discovery

Scott F Pooke
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posted 12-14-2005 04:43 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Scott F Pooke   Click Here to Email Scott F Pooke     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
This is indeed a great milestone for Tidbinbilla. I have been to the center many times as it is only 4 hours drive from Sydney. It is a credit to the people that operate it and their dedication and enthusiasm is infectious!
What I do find sad is the story of the remains of the Honeysuckle Creek Station.
Honeysuckle was located in Namadgi national Park just outside the town of Tharwa, some 32KM SSW and 40 minutes drive from Canberra.
When the station closed the antenna was dismantled and transferred to Tidbinbilla. The station's control room was abandoned on site and then the vandals took over. Eventualy,it was demolished by the ACT (Australian Capital Territory)government and a new Namadgi visitors center built down on the main road at Tharwa. Today nothing remains except concrete slabs .. these being the founations for both the telescope and the control center. A fire a few years ago further reduced the remains. I have scoured the sites of both the telescope and found a few small things in the surrounding bush and fully documented the whole site with still and video footage.
I cannot help but think how wonderful it would have been if the ACT Government had, instead of building the visitor's center at Tharwa, restored the Honeysuckle Control Room. In addition to being incredibly historic in terms of Australia's role in the space program, particularly Apollo, it is an incredibly beautiful location... perfect for astronomy. Today, only a small metal plaque alerts the visitor of the role that Honeysuckle played in the Apollo program, with particular emphasis on Apollo 11.
Further down the road from Tharwa was Orroral valley, closed after the early shuttle flights. That dish is still in operation, owned by the University of Tasmania.
After the station closed, NASA assisted with the dismantling of the dish and its transfer to its present site at Cambridge, just East Of Hobart.
Should anyone fly into Hobart, look in the field oposite the airport entrance and the dish is visable some distance away.
As a footnote: on aproach the Tidbinbilla station visitors center, there are a number of plaques from other Australian tracking stations. These commemerate the opening of other Australian tracking stations no longer in existance.. among them Carnarvon and Island Lagoon. What reamins of those stations I am unsure, If anyone knows please let me know.

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