Pat Delgado – at Island Lagoon



Pat Delgado

Pat Delgado in 2008.

 

In 1961 I transferred from the Woomera Missile Range to DSIF 41 and was there until 1966.

During that time I operated and maintained equipment in the servo section of the dish. The work called for a great variety of shift times, sometimes extending up to 28 hours non-stop if there was an equipment or a dish drive crisis. It was a case of becoming thoroughly familiar with every part of the system I was responsible for. Any malfunction of the system when tracking a spacecraft called for almost instantaneous recognition and correction of the fault. Any loss of tracking time was considered a disaster. You should have seen me going up those dish ladders sometimes. I considered sliding down the ladder handrails for quickness but the joins in them would make your eyes water!

On some lengthy tracking sessions meals were supplied in the HQ building and it was an in-joke at the time that some of the operations teams were gaining a yellow pallor through devouring such huge quantities of scrambled eggs!

There was a short period when I was transferred to Minitrack while parts of the dish system were being serviced. I operated the tracking equipment there and the large Baker Nunn camera. The most difficult part of the latter was developing the films in total darkness doing everything by feel.

Strangely, after I left Island Lagoon and tracking spacecraft, my next job was installing and testing analytical instruments in Polaris nuclear submarines under the Atlantic.

I will never forget the time I spent at Island Lagoon. It was the early years of space exploration and working on such state of the art equipment and being on the leading edge of space technology created a great team spirit and was both exciting and very rewarding.


Island Lagoon

Pat Delgado doing some system checks in the control room in 1962.

Photo: Pat Delgado.


Island Lagoon

Pat Delgado on the dish – the camera is looking towards the power house. 1962.


Goldstone

Pat Delgado with Goldstone’s helicopter, during their visit for the L to S-band conversion. Larger version. Largest version. Scan: Jan Delgado.


Barstow

The Holiday Inn at Barstow, where the Island Lagoon team stayed during their visit for the L to S-band conversion. Larger version. Largest version. Scan: Jan Delgado.

 

Pat enjoyed painting local scenes. These below are from 1966.

Pat Delgado paintings

Pimba, 1966.

Painting by Pat Delgado.

Photo: Jan Delgado.


Pat Delgado paintings

Island Lagoon, 1966.

Painting by Pat Delgado.

Photo: Jan Delgado.


Pat Delgado paintings

Island Lagoon with the dish in the middle, behind it the HQ buildings, to the right the Baker Nunn camera and on the very edge of the right hand side that must be Minitrack.

Probably from the col tower area. 1966.

Painting by Pat Delgado.

Photo and notes: Jan Delgado.


Pat Delgado paintings

Girawheen Avenue, from the north west corner of Woomera village looking east, 1966.

Painting by Pat Delgado.

Photo: Jan Delgado.


Pat Delgado paintings

Sunset from Girawheen Avenue, 1966.

Painting by Pat Delgado.

Photo: Jan Delgado.


Pat Delgado paintings

Lake Richardson, 1966.

Painting by Pat Delgado.

Photo: Jan Delgado.