We tracked all three of these missions [Apollos
4, 5 & 6], which gave us SOME experience working with the MSFN network
and Houston, and SOME practice acquiring and tracking spacecraft in Earth
orbit. With all the simulations and real spacecraft tracks we felt we knew
our equipment pretty well and had developed into a confident team. However,
we still felt we were junior members of the MSFN, not having UHF comms, not
having been part of Gemini, and not having tracked many earth orbit activities.
Apollo 7 was our first real opportunity to
perform consistently in earth orbit tracking. And this went very well
no signs of the early problems.
But finally with Apollo 8 we came into our
own, and this upstart MSFN station called Honeysuckle, near somewhere called
Canberra, came to centre stage and performed magnificently, along with all
other parts of this incredible mission.