Since Apollo, Parkes has often participated in tracking Deep
During the Voyager 2 encounter with Uranus, for example,
Parkes and the antennas at Tidbinbilla (CDSCC)
were arrayed to substantially increase the rates at which science data could
be received from the spacecraft. This arrangement was known as the Parkes–Canberra Telemetry Array (PCTA).
When Mike Dinn re-joined the team at Tidbinbilla in 1983, StaDir Tom Reid tasked him with overseeing the implementation of the array.
Voyager 2 was launched on August 20, 1977.
After encountering Jupiter in July 1979, and Saturn in August 1981, Voyager 2 was directed to Uranus and Neptune, and ultimately, out of the Solar System.
Uranus encounter, January 1986.
On January 25 (Australian time) 1986, the spacecraft passed just 81,500 kilometres above the cloudtops of Uranus.
For the Voyager 2 Uranus encounter, a large amount of equipment from Tidbinbilla was installed in the portable building at right, parked next to the telescope. Mike Dinn was tasked with running the operation, and hence the building became known as “Dinn’s Diner”.
Image assembled from a CSIRO video.
This series of photos was taken by a visitor from JPL (sorry, I don’t know his name).
They were preserved by Mike Dinn and scanned by Colin Mackellar.
Any help with names would be appreciated.
(Higher resolution versions available on request.)
18. Sunrise at Parkes.
And here’s an autographed copy – with thanks to Stew Burton.
1. Voyager II Uranus encounter at Parkes.
Note the telemetry tapes on the table.
2. Paul Mullen is seated at left. Peter Churchill (later CDSCC StaDir) is standing with back to the camera.
3. Countdown to encounter.
4. L-R: ?, ?, Mike Dinn, Peter Churchill, Paul Mullen.
11. Display showing radio events for the encounter.
12. Mike Dinn at left, Len Litherland in centre.
16. Peter Churchill at the keyboard.
20. Paul Mullen and Peter Churchill.
10. Relaxing after a track.
Len Litherland, ?, Paul Mullen, John Sloan, Peter Churchill.
9. At Tidbinbilla.
?, Frank Donivan JPL, Mike Dinn.
Neptune encounter, August 1989.
On August 25 1989, Voyager 2 encountered Neptune, passing 4,950 kilometres above the gas giant’s north pole.
Point of closest approach (PCA) was at 13:57AEST.
These photos show members of the Tidbinbilla team at Parkes for the encounter. Photos courtesy of John Sarkissian and CSIRO.
1. Neil McVicar, CDSCC
2. Mr Orlandi, a Parkes local who worked as a casual operator
3. Peter Churchill, CDSCC
4. Paul Mullen, CDSCC
5. Bob Jenkins, CDSCC RF engineer
6. Frank Donivan, JPL
7. John McCaffery, CDSCC
8. Bob Beard, CDSCC
9. Richard Jacobsen, CDSCC Deputy Director at the time.
With thanks to Peter Churchill and Mike Dinn for the names.