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.
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.
This plot of expected data rates from Voyager 2 shows the impact of arraying Tidbinbilla (CDSCC) and Parkes.
The leftmost curve shows data rates expected at Goldstone.
The rightmost curve represents Madrid. The lower elevation of Uranus at Madrid would be a major factor in lower data rates.
The central two curves represent the data rate at Tidbinbilla with and without the array with Parkes.
It was because of this advantage that the Voyager 2 encounter with Uranus was timed to coincide with coverage by the PCTA.
Plot courtesy of Doug Mudgway’s Uplink – Downlink.