Apollo 7 Tracking: Personal Recollections


Apollo 7, as the first manned Apollo mission, was what the Apollo stations of the MSFN had been training for.

Here are some personal recollections –


Mike Dinn, Honeysuckle Creek Deputy Director

Apollo 7 was a major milestone for Honeysuckle, and me personally.  

  • The first time we tracked a manned mission, and became an integral, active member of the MSFN.
  • Joining the “old hands” such as Carnarvon.  
  • Pointing a point three degree antenna at earth tracking rates was quite a challenge, which we met.  
  • And for me, the challenge of being in charge of operations, and some previous criticisms of the station’s competence, had me somewhat nervous.  

But all the training and planning paid off.  We performed impeccably, and I don’t recollect any problems.


Mike Dinn

Mike Dinn, Deputy Director of Honeysuckle Creek, May 1968.

Photo by Hamish Lindsay, scan by Colin Mackellar.


Bruce Window, MSFN Ops Supervisor HSKX (Honeysuckle Wing at Tidbinbilla)

Here are some thoughts that I have as HSKX Ops supervisor of the Apollo 7 mission.

At the Wing (HSKX), I remember Apollo 7 perhaps for our introduction to the Mission more than some of the other well-remembered issues.

We had been advised that we would not be required for this mission, and so, my MSFN OPS colleague Tony Keiller (who would have shared the day) had been sent to Houston for familiarisation and training. As it turned out, he was there for the whole mission.

A short time before Launch, we were advised that we were now committed. That meant that I would initially have to cover the pre-pass testing as well as the pass and finish up with post pass tests. I remember that I worked 17 hours on the Launch Day which was full of frustrations.

Houston did not have our mountainous horizon plugged into their predictions for flight coverage and so we, and Honeysuckle, were called up for passes below our horizons. I think it took a day, perhaps more, to get that corrected.

I did get some relief on the OPS desk on following days with help from one of my DSN Ops colleagues, Ron Hargreaves, who picked up enough on-the-job training to take the back end of the shifts until end of mission.

As it was an Earth orbital mission, sometimes our HA/Dec antenna was pushing it to keep on track and the mechanical staff were often on edge.

Eventually, things got into a pattern and we completed our unexpected introduction to Manned Flight support fairly satisfactorily I believe.

Regards to all

Bruce Window


HSKX – the Honeysuckle “Wing”, DSS42 at Tidbinbilla.

This photo was taken closer to Apollo 11. Bruce Window is seated third from the end on the right hand side (left arm outretched, white shirt).

Personnel are (from lower right, going towards Antenna CRT Rack):
Receiver/Exciter 8 = Ian Fisher
Receiver/Exciter 7 = Mark Foster
Receiver/Exciter 6 = Brian Eagleton
Receiver/Exciter 5 = Jack Dickinson
SB2 = Tony Keiller
SB1 = Bruce Window
Chart Recorders = Ginge Booth
Antenna = Don Sinclair? I think
Standing at APP/TDP = David Shaw
Time standards = Ivan Boyd

With thanks to Bruce Window, Stew Burton, Keith Aldworth and Hamish Lindsay for the names.

Scan by Ken Sheridan – photo courtesy Michael Bott.


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