[amsat-bb] Re: reminiscing about a long ago time - WAS:Re: Re: Earthrise - add

Edward Cole kl7uw at acsalaska.net
Fri Dec 26 18:45:15 PST 2008


I have already submitted some of my personal experiences, so some of 
us are old enough to have been there.  I did not work in the manned 
space program, but instead worked for the DSN (Deep Space Network) 
that was charged with unmanned missions.

Working at Goldstone we were involved in many missions since we did 
the tracking, commanding and data recovery.  A couple of programs are 
very much in my memory.  I was a project engineer on the Mariner 
Venus/Mercury (called MVM-73 before launch and Mariner-10 after).  It 
was (if I recall correctly) the first multi-planet probe to use 
gravitational assist.  It encountered Venus and swung around the 
planet which gave it a boost in velocity to continue on to 
Mercury.  It was the first spacecraft to make a close examination of 
Mercury.  I was involved in the receiver section of the DSS-14 
station (also called the "Mars" station) which had the 64m dish with 
s/x band feed for studying the differential bending of RF thru the 
atmosphere of Venus when it went into occultation (disappeared behind 
the planet).  We accurately measure both signal frequency and LOS of 
the two carriers which would provide scientists with a measure of 
atmospheric density.  It was out of comm about 40-minutes when it was 
to reappear from the behind Venus.  But due to a human screw up, 
Australia picked up the signal before us even though they did not 
have a view of Venus above the horizon during the encounter.  What 
was even more embarrassing was that the Director of NASA made a 
surprise visit to the station to personally view the 
experiment.  Boy, did we have some explaining to do.  So what 
happened?  Since there were unknowns in the exact altitude above 
Venus that the trajectory would take and unknowns about Venus' 
gravitational field, I had to generate a series of estimates (on a 
desk calculator) for Doppler shift and tell the other receiver 
engineer what value of frequency to enter into the, then state of the 
art, PLL mw receiver.  Since 2292 part of the frequency did not 
change, I gave him the .xxx,xxx,xx part instead of 
2292.xxx,xxx,xx  Yeah, in the excitement and stress of the moment the 
other engineer and I screwed up the frequency entries.  The other 
frequency was 8415 MHz (I believe).

The other mission was the Viking-I Mars Lander, which I was involved 
only slightly.  But NASA circulated a paper asking for signatures of 
all the participating engineers.  The surprise was that they engraved 
a small plaque that was attached to the spacecraft with all those 
signatures.  Mine is on there along with about 250 others.  Pretty 
neat deal to think back on.

In 2001 I made a visit to Goldstone after attending MUD-2001 in San 
Jose.  So much has changed, yet my tour-guide was a young woman that 
began work at Goldstone a year after I left.  She was in a training 
program that I had a hand in starting.  She actually said she 
recalled my name - Later that night I had dinner with Dick, K6HIJ and 
his son in Barstow and we reminisced.  Dick first hired me to work at 
Goldstone in his department.

All this is 30 years or more into my past, but the recent links to 
the anniversary of Apollo-8 and the Parkes Station bring it back.
It was my dream as a young man in high school and even earlier to get 
into the space program.  But I never thought that would happen.  It 
was directly due to a friendship with K6HIJ that I got that 
opportunity.  Thanks Dick for all of that!

73, Ed - KL7UW
I worked at Goldstone 1971-1976 (I was 27 years old when I started); 
JPL 1976-1979

At 04:17 PM 12/26/2008, James French wrote:
>Since we are reminiscing about where some of our families
>were doing at the beginning of the space age, I'll add mine
>My grandfather, Paul, W1DLP, told me about working on some of the
>equipment for the Gemini program. He even gave me one of his trinkets
>from then, a plastic coin bank in the shape of a Gemini capsule that he
>had gotten. I have long since lost that trinket...:(
>I am wondering how many of us had relatives that did something during
>those fun times?
>James W8ISS
>On Fri, 2008-12-26 at 11:13 -0600, Reicher, James wrote:
> > Seeing this link brought tears to my eyes.
> >
> > At the time the tapes were made, I was the tender age of three, but I
> > still have a very close connection with those images and with the tapes.
> >
> >
> > My grandfather, Walter Lyons, an electrical engineer with RCA, helped
> > develop the technology used in taking the images from the Lunar Orbiter
> > and Surveyor series and converting them into radio waves and into the
> > data found on these tapes.
> >
> > Although he never was licensed as an amateur, he was one of my
> > inspirations for becoming a ham.  Unfortunately, he passed away 2 years
> > before I earned my ticket.
> >
> > 73 de W0HV, Jim in Raymore, MO (ex-N8AU)
> >
> > Light travels faster than sound...  This is why some people appear
> > bright until you hear them speak.
> >
> > Date: Thu, 25 Dec 2008 11:30:36 -0900
> > From: Edward Cole <kl7uw at acsalaska.net>
> > Subject: [amsat-bb] Re: Earthrise - add
> > To: Joe Fitzgerald <jfitzgerald at alum.wpi.edu>
> > Cc: Amsat BB <amsat-bb at amsat.org>
> > Message-ID: <200812252030.mBPKUbv8086213 at hermes.acsalaska.net>
> > Content-Type: text/plain; charset="us-ascii"; format=flowed
> >
> > At 04:25 AM 12/25/2008, Joe Fitzgerald wrote:
> > >Rocky Jones wrote:
> > > > I think that the first black and white photo of Earthrise over
> > > the Moon...was from one of the Lunar Orbiters... I think 5...
> > > >
> > > >
> > > >
> > >There was a nice story recently about a recent restoration of that
> > photo
> > >...http://www.collectspace.com/news/news-111408a.html
> > >
> > >-Joe KM1P
> > >_______________________________________________
> > >Sent via AMSAT-BB at amsat.org. Opinions expressed are those of the
> > author.
> > >Not an AMSAT-NA member? Join now to support the amateur satellite
> > program!
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> >
> > I am amazed at times how my own past resurfaces.
> >
> > One of my duties at Goldstone from 1974-1976 was to manage the tape
> > backup for data received from spacecraft like the Voyagers and
> > Pioneers that flew by Jupiter, Saturn (and the outer planets after my
> > time), and other missions.  It was sort of an unwanted task handed
> > off on me.  But I took it serious and devised a record system to keep
> > track of when they were recorded and so they would be retained for
> > the required time period.  These were backups as the prime data had
> > been transmitted to the mission scientist.  These were held a minimum
> > of 30-days in case of any bad data in the originals.  I started
> > stacking them in an unused office but in time they ended up in the
> > climate-controlled "basement" of the 64m DSS-14 Control
> > Building.  They ended up being kept much longer than 30-days.  I'm
> > guessing these reel tapes were made by the same recorder as mentioned
> > in the article.  Isn't it fantastic that the old Lunar tapes were
> > recoverable!  2009 will be my 30th anniversary of leaving Jet
> > Propulsion Lab to move to Alaska...tempis fugit!
> >
> > The, then new, Hydrogen Maser Master Clock was installed in this same
> > room.  It was used for precise timing of VLBI experiments, which
> > previously required calibration by the famous "flying clock" or the
> > x-band Moon Bounce timing system (ask Dick, K6HIJ).  Not only
> > Goldstone, but Madrid, and Canberra stations required to be on the
> > same accurate time (ask Tom Clark about that).
> >
> > As the New Year approaches we reflect on the past.  Thanks to those
> > who recently found those articles.
> >
> > Merry Christmas and Happy New year!
> > 73, Ed Cole - KL7UW (& Janet)
> >
> >
> >
> > _______________________________________________
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> >
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