Friday, September 03, 2004

More on Moonwatch

In the National Archives today. I discovered that there were Moonwatch groups in Adelaide, Sydney, Melbourne, and Townsville as well as Woomera, all devoted to optically tracking US spacecraft. The Australian operation was coordinated by Professor Elford at the University of Adelaide and the the information sent in code to the Smithsonian in Washington DC by the Weapons Research Establishment in Salisbury just outside Adelaide.

Even though Moonwatch was set up in the IGY specifically for Vanguard, it proved so successful that the program was continued into the 60s. The main subject of the file in the National Archives was the trouble the Woomera Moonwatch group had with customs when the US sent them a crate of binoculars.

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