Space Sounds from Minitrack, Island Lagoon

Island Lagoon

Bruce Window at Island Lagoon Minitrack 1963.


In June or July 1963, Bruce Window recorded a five and a half minute tape of the sounds of spacecraft telemetry, as received at Island Lagoon Minitrack.

He added a commentary to give a unique feel for the early days of space tracking in Australia.


audio Sounds of Satellite Telemetry – Island Lagoon Minitrack 1963 – 3.4MB mp3 file runs for 5 minutes 30 seconds.

Tape courtesy Bruce Window, August 2013.

Time – Satellite

00:00 – 1963 LOFTI (LOFTI 2A / 1963-021B, launched 15 June 1963, decayed 18 July 1963).

01:00 – A geophysics research satellite launched on the same vehicle as LOFTI.

02:40 – 1962 Beta Gamma (1962-BETA GAMMA 1 / EXPLORER 14 (S-3A), launched 02 October 1962, decayed 01 July 1966).

04:23 – 1962 Omicron (1962-OMICRON 1 / ARIEL 1, launched 26 April 1962, decayed 24 May 1976).

Though many of the satellites were built by or in conjunction with the US Department of Defense, Minitrack only tracked Unclassified research spacecraft.

The “Johnston Island bomb” to which Bruce refers on the tape was the Starfish Prime experimental detonation of a device 400km above the Pacific Ocean. That detonation created a larger-than-expected electromagnetic pulse, which damaged several satellites as well as causing havoc on Hawaii.

Island Lagoon

Island Lagoon Minitrack Telemetry Receiver, 1962.

Photo: Bruce Window.