Carnarvon Tracking Station, Western Australia
Carnarvon Tracking Station was opened in June 1964 to be a prime station for the Gemini Program. The Verlort Radar and Aquisition antennae were transported from Muchea to Carnarvon after Muchea closed.
Carnarvon was better placed than Muchea to be able to track Gemini spacecraft and it was also in an ideal position to confirm the orbit of the Apollo spacecraft so that a Go / No-Go decision could be made for Trans Lunar Injection.
The USB section and the 9 metre antenna were built specifically to support Apollo.
Carnarvon Tracking Station was the largest manned space flight tracking station outside the US. It should not be confused with the nearby OTC Carnarvon Earth Station which was built primarily to carry comms from the NASA station to the US.
(See also the Downunder Comes up Live TV segment in the
above OTC Earth Station section. The TV broadcast included people
from the NASA station.)
This 1963 NASA sketch shows demonstrates how Carnarvon was better placed to track the low-earth-orbiting Gemini spacecraft.
The plaque commemorating the opening of Carnarvon Tracking Station has been mounted on a large rock outside the Visitors Centre at the Canberra Deep Space Communications Complex at Tidbinbilla.
The plaque is not currently on public display. Here’s an orthocorrected version of the above photo.
Photo: Colin Mackellar, 2002.