Orroral Satellites Tracked


Orroral Valley tracked many different Earth-orbiting scientific satellites.

Here are a few of them, along with some recollections.

(This is just a start...)


Orroral Valley

A poster depicting Goddard Missions as of April 1966 was displayed near the servo console at Orroral Valley.

This 8 x 10 inch print, NASA G-67-955 was preserved by Lewis Wainwright. Scan by Colin Mackellar.



Alouette was Canada’s first satellite, launched on 28 September 1963 onboard a Thor-Agena B rocket from Vandeburg Air Force Base in California.

Alouette’s primary purpose was measuring electron densities of the ionosphere

Philip Clark remembers,

“I noticed a little snippet in the TIB [Vol. 1, No. 16, 04 October 1963] … about the Canadian satellite Alouette.

It sparked my memory because I remember tracking it at Orroral. It had what we called a ‘topside sounder’ to investigate the ionosphere.

The interesting thing was that we could hear the return signal on the telemetry receivers and as the sounder scanned through the
many frequencies we could hear snatches of signals from all sorts of things like taxis, police, radio stations, TV stations, aircraft, etc.
It was rather fascininating.”


Orroral Valley

Alouette was featured in a NASA FACTS publication, F-12-62. This edition was revised in 1964.

Click the image for a 6.9MB PDF file.

Preserved by Les Whaley, scanned by Colin Mackellar.



WRESAT wasAustralia’s first satellite, launched from Woomera on 27 November 1967.

The satellite was tracked by Orroral Valley and other stations of the STADAN network, and was shipped to Orroral for RF testing prior to launch.


RF Tests

WRESAT at Orroral Valley for RF compatibilty tests.

This photo was taken inside the RF enclosure.

Left to right are:-
(1) Rear left Ken Threlfall.
(2) Clive Broomfield at the rear.
(3) Brian Chapman.
(4) Colin Meivel.
(5) Norbert ?.
(6) David Tarbet.

Photo: Clive Broomfield.