Ed von Renouard – DSS41 and Honeysuckle Creek


Above is a 6 minute video of Ed’s recollections of the day of the Apollo 11 Moonwalk. On the video console, he was the first to see the television arriving from the Moon.

Watch above, or on Vimeo.

Ed von Renouard

Ed von Renouard at the Honeysuckle Creek video console during the Apollo 14 lunar mission in February 1971.

Photo preserved by Ed, scan by Colin Mackellar.

Ed von Renouard emigrated from Germany to Australia in 1953 at the age of 21, leaving the devastation of post-war Europe and looking for opportunities and adventure. He said that “in Australia, all opportunities were wide open”.

In 1961, he went down to the Antarctic because “that was somewhere you couldn’t buy a ticket to”.

At Mawson Base, Ed spent a year as a radio technician performing meteorological observations, recording signals from radiosondes for relay back to Melbourne. He recalled his experience as “an enormous event” which, for him, was only equalled by Apollo.

On his return to Adelaide, Ed enrolled at the South Australian School of Mines, studying to be qualified as a communications / television technician. Then followed a job with ABC Television in Adelaide – in telecine and videotape.

However, Ed wanted to be involved in space – what he described as “man’s greatest adventure”.

In 1966 he saw an advertisement for a TO1 at DSS41 Island Lagoon, Woomera. He applied, was accepted, and worked in the Telemetry section, gaining much experience on Lunar Orbiter.

In an October 2023 interview, Station Director of Island Lagoon from 1967-1972, Don Cocks, described Ed as “a brilliant techo”.


Ed von Renouard

The 26 meter (85 foot) antenna of DSS-41, Island Lagoon, Woomera, circa 1967.

Photo by Ed von Renouard.


After two years at Woomera, Ed saw an advertisement for technical work at the new manned space tracking station at Honeysuckle Creek. He applied, and started in June 1968.

First up there was training at Goldstone, California, on operating the TV scan converter.


Ed von Renouard

In The Good Neighbour magazine, August 1969, Ed is pictured at the Honeysuckle Creek scan converter during the Apollo 10 mission.

(The magazine from the Australian Department of Immigration featured migrants to Australia in various spheres of life.)

Preserved by Tony Gerada, scan by Colin Mackellar.

Ed von Renouard

Ed von Renouard and the Honeysuckle Creek 26 metre antenna.
Photo: Australian News and Information Service, 1969.


Ed was on the video console at Honeysuckle for Apollo 8, and remembered watching the Christmas message from lunar orbit on Christmas Day 1968.

Most famously, Ed was on the console for the Apollo 11 EVA, and was one of the few people to see the unconverted slow scan picture received direct from Tranquility Base. His scan-converted signals of Armstrong’s first step on the Moon were fed by satellite to Houston and then out to the world. They were also released direct to Australian viewers via the NASA video switching centre at Paddington in Sydney.


Ed von Renouard

On Monday 21 July 1969, Ed was one of the Honeysuckle team in the hot seat. While some were responsible for pointing the dish, others for receiving the signals from Apollo 11 at Tranquility Base, and others for demodulating them, Ed’s responsibility was to operate the video console. The slow scan black and white TV picture from the Moon was converted to commercial US TV standards using the RCA Scan Converter.

After Apollo 11 had landed on the Moon, but before the Moonwalk began, Australian Prime Minister John Gorton paid a short visit to the station. Here, Station Director Tom Reid explains the equipment to the Prime Minister while Ed sits at the console.

Just four hours after this photo was taken, Ed, and this equipment, relayed to the world the pictures of Neil Armstrong’s first steps on the lunar surface. 

Photo: Hamish Lindsay. 2018 negative scan by Colin Mackellar.

Ed von Renouard

The Prime Minister speaks with Ed von Renouard at the RCA Scan Converter. 

Note the inverter toggle switch above and to the right of Ed’s head. It is this switch (now on display at CDSCC) which was used to turn to TV the right way up when the camera was upside-down in the MESA.

Photo: Hamish Lindsay. 2018 negative scan by Colin Mackellar.

Ed von Renouard

Ed took this photo of the slow scan TV monitor showing Neil Armstrong as he retrieves the Hasselblad film camera that has been lowered to him by Buzz Aldrin in the Lunar Module near the start of the Moonwalk.

Preserved and scanned by John Saxon.


Ed and his wife Joan have been living in London for many years. After his space career, Ed specialised in the translation of technical documents between German and English. He continued that work until well into his 80s.

Ed travelled back to Australia in 2006 to be at a Honeysuckle Creek re-union which was addressed by Stan Lebar, head of the team which built the Apollo lunar TV camera, the signals from which Ed processed at his console on 21 July 1969.


Ed von Renouard

Ed von Renouard holds and operates the toggle switch from the scan converter at Honeysuckle Creek.

He is at the Apollo reunion in Canberra in March 2006. Former Westinghouse Apollo Television Camera Manager Stan Lebar, at right, has brought a production lunar TV camera identical to the one used on the Moon by Apollo 11.


In June 2009, Ed recorded this interview by phone from London for honeysucklecreek.net.