OTC Carnarvon last days and today

The OTC Carnarvon contract with Intelsat expired at the end on 1984 and much of the equipment was sent to a new ground station in Indonesia.

European Space Agency utilisation of the 97 foot antenna had increased in the years leading up to the end of the Intelsat contract. In 1980, the antenna and equipment had been upgraded by ESA in anticipation of the Giotto unmanned mission to Halley’s Comet in 1986. (The command uplink was through Carnarvon and the downlink was through the Parkes Radio Telescope.)


OTC Carnarvon

“1987 could see closure”.

Ian Grant shares this photocopy of a front page article from The Gascoyne Telegraph, August 15, 1984.

The article notes that OTC planned to preserve the original 42 foot casshorn antenna as a historical monument.

On the left in the photo is Randolf Hudson Payne, then OTC Assistant Operations General Manager. He had joined OTC when it was formed in 1946.

He was later Deputy General Manager of OTC(A) and, from 1980, Chairman of Intelsat. Ian notes that he was heavily involved in supporting NASA’s Apollo communications.


The station closed around 1989.

The Carnarvon Space and Technology Museum was opened on the old OTC site in June 2012.


OTC Carnarvon

The former OTC 90 foot parabolic antenna, April 2011.

Sabrina Dowling Giudici captured this image using equipment of astrophotographers Ric Tonello and Vic Levis.

OTC Carnarvon

The former OTC 42 foot Casshorn antenna with the 90 foot parabolic antenna in the background, April 2011.

Photo: Sabrina Dowling Giudici.

OTC Carnarvon

The former OTC earth station in late 2005.

From a distance, all looks normal – but the former Earth Station is now disused. There is talk of establishing a museum to Space Tracking in Western Australia at the site.

Keith McCredden, who took this photo, writes –

“The upper equipment room on the 30m antenna was damaged by fire a few years ago but it has been re-enclosed to look similar to the original. The antenna does not look too bad considering its age.”

OTC Carnarvon

The former OTC earth station in July 2008.

Ron Jarvis from Perth took this photo from the 97 foot antenna – looking towards the south-east.

OTC Carnarvon

The former OTC 97 foot antenna in July 2008.

Photo: Ron Jarvis.

OTC Carnarvon

Looking west from the antenna – the town of Carnarvon and the Indian Ocean in the distance.

Photo: Ron Jarvis.