Parkes celebrates 50th moon landing anniversary

Parkes will join in celebrations in July this year of the moment 50 years ago when six hundred million people, one sixth of mankind at the time, watched Neil Armstrong's first steps on the Moon.

"It's certainly a big year for Parkes," mayor Ken Keith said.

The Dish at Parkes was one of three tracking stations receiving the signals simultaneously during the landing.

The others were the Honeysuckle Creek tracking station outside Canberra and NASA's Goldstone station in California.

The signals were relayed to Mission Control at Houston.

During the first few minutes of the broadcast, NASA alternated between the signals from its two stations at Goldstone and Honeysuckle Creek, searching for the best quality images. When they switched to the Parkes pictures, they were of such superior quality, that NASA remained with the Parkes TV pictures for the remainder of the 2 1/2 hour telecast.

The CSIRO is expecting 5000 people to make their way to Parkes to celebrate the anniversary on Saturday and Sunday July 20 and 21.

The Parkes Champion Post is putting together a special publication to mark the occasion.

To assist with celebrating the 50th anniversary Parkes Shire Council has agreed to loan its stage to the as well as provide a pop-up visitor information stand; and assist with promoting the event.

Activities planned include telescope tours, talks by guest speakers and astronomers, daytime astronomy viewings and screening of The Dish.

Cr Keith said talks had also involved attempting to get an astronaut to attend.

"I'd also like to invite the new US ambassador.

"Parkes should be the focal point for the celebrations in Australia of the moon walk."

Cr Keith suggested the US Consul General based in Sydney should also be invited to "further the wonderful relationship we have with the USA".

"We would normally be doing a civic reception as part of the AstroFest weekend and we'll be doing that again and inviting all those people back (involved 50 years ago).

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