Voyager 2 support at Parkes


 

Since Apollo, Parkes has often participated in tracking Deep Space missions.

During the Voyager 2 encounter with Uranus, for example, Parkes and the antennas at Tidbinbilla (CDSCC) were arrayed to substantially increase the rates at which science data could be received from the spacecraft. This arrangement was known as the Parkes - Canberra Telemetry Array (PCTA).

When Mike Dinn re-joined the team at Tidbinbilla in 1983, StaDir Tom Reid tasked him with overseeing the implementation of the array.

Voyager 2 was launched on August 20, 1977.

On January 25 (Australian time) 1986, the spacecraft passed just 81,500 kilometres above the cloudtops of Uranus.


Dinn’s Diner

For the Voyager 2 Uranus encounter, a large amount of equipment from Tidbinbilla was installed in the portable building at right, parked next to the telescope. Mike Dinn was tasked with running the operation, and hence the building became known as “Dinn’s Diner”.

Image assembled from a CSIRO video.


 

This series of photos was taken by a visitor from JPL (sorry, I don’t know his name).
They were preserved by Mike Dinn and scanned by Colin Mackellar.
Any help with names would be appreciated.
(Higher resolution versions available on request.)

Parkes - Voyager II Uranus encounter

18. Sunrise at Parkes.


1986 Voyager at Uranus

And here’s an autographed copy – with thanks to Stew Burton.


Parkes - Voyager II Uranus encounter

1. Voyager II Uranus encounter at Parkes.
Note the telemetry tapes on the table.


Parkes - Voyager II Uranus encounter

2. Paul Mullen is seated at left. Peter Churchill (later CDSCC StaDir) is standing with back to the camera.


Parkes - Voyager II Uranus encounter

3. Countdown to encounter.


Parkes - Voyager II Uranus encounter

4. L-R: ?, ?, Mike Dinn, Peter Churchill, Paul Mullen.


Parkes - Voyager II Uranus encounter

5.


Parkes - Voyager II Uranus encounter

6.


Parkes - Voyager II Uranus encounter

7.


Parkes - Voyager II Uranus encounter

8.


Parkes - Voyager II Uranus encounter

11. Display showing radio events for the encounter.


Parkes - Voyager II Uranus encounter

12. Mike Dinn at left, Len Litherland in centre.


Parkes - Voyager II Uranus encounter

14.


Parkes - Voyager II Uranus encounter

16. Peter Churchill at the keyboard.


Parkes - Voyager II Uranus encounter

17.


Parkes - Voyager II Uranus encounter

20. Paul Mullen and Peter Churchill.


Parkes - Voyager II Uranus encounter

21.


Parkes - Voyager II Uranus encounter

15. Sunrise.


Parkes - Voyager II Uranus encounter

10. Relaxing after a track.

Len Litherland, ?, Paul Mullen, John Sloan, Peter Churchill.


Parkes - Voyager II Uranus encounter

9. At Tidbinbilla.

?, Frank Donivan JPL (who sent this plot), Mike Dinn.