British Groups Abroad

1st Ascension Island
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The ex-NASA site
by Harry Turner (ex-NASA)

 

Ex-NASA Site, Ascension Island
Page 1 of 7

A daytime view of the Unified S-Band Antenna tracking Apollo 11. Although the moon can rarely be seen during daylight hours, sometimes it's there.

Information kindly supplied by Harry Turner

 

Ex-NASA Site, Ascension Island
Page 2 of 7

The initial direction parameters have been programmed into the computer and the Unified S-Band antenna is waiting for the Apollo Spacecraft to rise above the horizon. This is known as AOS (acquisition of signal). After AOS the antenna will "auto track" the spacecraft until LOS (loss of signal) which will occur at the opposite horizon. This would take around 12 to 14 hours.

Information kindly supplied by Harry Turner

 

Ex-NASA Site, Ascension Island
Page 3 of 7

The spacecraft is enroute to the moon and the Devil's Ashpit Tracking Station is gathering and passing along telemetry and tracking data to Houston. The accuracy of the tracking system is plus or minus one meter at lunar distance.

Information kindly supplied by Harry Turner

 

Ex-NASA Site, Ascension Island
Page 4 of 7

Some of the NASA Devil's Ashpit personnel on duty during Apollo 11. At left, (with sunglasses), Harry Turner, center seated, Charlie Renn. extreme right, "Whitey" White. The others are unidentified. The console at rear is for control of the Unified S-Band Dish antenna. A Track-Ball was used to move the antenna manually. The ball portion of this device was actually a bowling ball. Although sophisticated at that time, by today's standards, the equipment seems rather crude.

Information kindly supplied by Harry Turner

 

Ex-NASA Site, Ascension Island
Page 5 of 7

"Whitey" White, Receiver/Exciter Engineer in what we jokingly called "Mission Configuration". This photo illustrates that even in those days, it's the equipment that does the work. We humans are there to monitor and supervise the situation.

Information kindly supplied by Harry Turner

 

Ex-NASA Site, Ascension Island
Page 6 of 7

Harry Turner, Antenna Position Programmer/Tracking Data Processor Engineer "diligently at work". I don't remember the reason for the silly hats, probably none, but the sunglasses were helpful after being on duty for two weeks of sixteen hour days.

Information kindly supplied by Harry Turner

 

Ex-NASA Site, Ascension Island
Page 7 of 7

Green Mountain, with the Power Station in the foreground The Power Station was equipped with several Diesel Generators, and supplied mains power for all station activities.

Information kindly supplied by Harry Turner

 

The building's NASA role
by Joseph Cantrell
Photo history
by Harry Turner
Photo history
by Wally Wilkins

 

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