Red Lake introduction


Located 43km north of Woomera, the Red Lake FPS-16 Radar had been built by the UK and Australian governments to track Blue Streak launches from the nearby Woomera Rocket Range. In the preparations for Project Mercury, an agreement was reached with the US for the FPS-16 to be used to support Mercury tracking.

It was because of this arrangement that the NASA Telemetry and Acquisition station, with air to ground voice and telemetry, was established at the same location – just 600 metres east of the FPS-16 site.

Tom Reid (later StaDir at Orroral Valley, StaDir at Honeysuckle Creek and StaDir at Tidbinbilla) was the Senior Scientific Officer and Officer in Charge at Red Lake.

Warren Berkery, who was a team leader and console operator on the FPS16 tracking radars at Red Lake and Mirikata, says that the Red Lake FPS-16 was also a critical site involved in NASA Project Gemini launches and early project Apollo tests.

Red Lake FPS16 Red Lake T&C

The FPS-16 Radar.

The NASA Telemetry station.

Mercury stations

This NASA map of the Mercury tracking network shows the ground track for the MA-9 flight.

Mercury stations

A shot of the Red Lake FPS-16 at sunset.
Frame from a NASA documentary on Friendship 7.