Andy Nguyen from Melbourne broke a few records earlier this year. He managed to get one of his foil party balloons around the world nearly 3 times. I’m sure that there are hundreds circling the earth every day, but Andy’s magic is adding a HF transmitter, a VHF transmitter with Frequency change ability by longitude (for different countries) a smart controller, solar charging and batteries and they all weighed only some 11 grams.
November 1st 1969 Sydney Australia
by Robert Brand
I just came across these photos from the Apollo 11 crew that toured Sydney following the moon landing. I think that they were taken on a Kodak Box Brownie that I just happened to have. I remember that I was not planning on taking photos and then just decided it was too historic.
I was 17 and I, along with many others, wired up some of the Apollo 11 comms gear at OTC Paddington in Sydney. The tour had a special significance because of the little bit of work that we all did at Paddo. I had to take my place on a Sydney street along with everyone else to snap a few seconds on the Apollo 11 Astronauts driving by at a rather fast pace. I was on the Corner of King St and Elizabeth Street in the heart of Sydney. Continue reading
Space and Technology Museum at Carnarvon
Jim Crockett posted this on our ex-OTC Facebook Page:I just came back from trip on the Norwest coast of Western Australia on my way to the 31st bi-annual conference of the Australian Speleological Federation that was held at Exmouth. On the way we stopped for a visit to the Space and Technology Museum at Carnarvon at the old OTC Satellite station [and NASA Centre].
by Robert Brand
Hi all. I have had a severe illness hit one of my family and I dropped the ball with the website. It is back in service and all is well. I will post a few back stories shortly and please send me any stories, reunion photos and more. Continue reading
by Robert Brand
Here is a story of what my son is about to do and I will of course mentor him. If anyone is interested at any level, please contact me. 0448881101. The launch site looks like it will be at Longreach Queensland in early April 2015
The piece below was written for another group, but it tells the story. We are after sponsors, so if you can help nail down a sponsor we will pay 10% commission. That is standard in the industry.
Imagine a time when a 12 year student could build a supersonic glider 2.5m / 8ft long, attach it to a huge helium or hydrogen balloon and take it to the edge of space, release it, fly it into a dive back to earth that will reach Mach 1.5 / 1,800kph / 1,120mph and land it. Well that time is now and the student is Jason Brand from Sydney Secondary College / Balmain Campus. He is in year 7 and has already broken plenty of records. Breaking the sound barrier will be another cool record. His flight will break a lot of other records too. Continue reading
As most of my old ex-otc mates know, I am heavily involved in the space sector and even bump into Bill Barrett occasionally. I recently had this interview published in Spaceflight magazine. Note that I did NOT put the title on the page “Saving Apollo 11”, nor did I say anything so stupid – seems the editor thought that a nice touch. It was in a prestigious UK space magazine: “Spaceflight”
My words are very tame in the interview in that regard. My friend Nick Howes (the interviewer) from the UK also thinks I am being humble when I tell him I didn’t do much other than wiring. I was asked by Wayne Ozarko to lend a hand along with fellow trainee Paul Davies (never heard from Paul since he went to the UK around 1970). Editors want to sell magazines. They embellish the facts. Continue reading
by Robert Brand
Well the Apollo Heritage event is over and I had a lot of fun with the interview or should I say “armchair chat”. It was a very comfortable discussion. I am excited to tell you that there is a video of the event. It was recorded and the link is below. I must say that I am very taken with Dr. Pamela L. Gay (the host) and her interview style. I was never left with a feeling of “what will happen next”. Continue reading
Robert Brand is a Special Guest for Apollo 11 GLXP Hangout
Not much to say, but to follow the link below and be part of the Apollo 11 special event for the Google Lunar X Prize Team Hangout.
I will be discussing my experiences wiring up the Apollo 11 gear in Sydney – not that this was an amazing event, but since I am part of a group building a mission to go to the moon with a Rover, it appears that I am about the only person in the GLXP with a connection to the Apollo 11 event. Continue reading
Apollo Range Instrumented Aircraft (ARIA)
As the capsule reenters the Earth’s atmosphere, the dishes that were used to communicate with Apollo 11 become useless. They cannot “see” the craft and it is thus a different method of communications that needs to be used. This was done through the ARIA aircraft. Continue reading
An Explosion in the Scan-converter.
by Robert Brand
A few weeks before the launch of Apollo 11, the scan-converter at OTC Paddington in Sydney exploded when it was switched on by NASA‘s Richard Holl following a test. The explosion occurred because the scan-converter was wrongly rewired one evening. Continue reading
by Robert Brand
Remember the small prototype of a KickSat (photo right)? I wrote about it in an earlier post. In mid April, 2014 it was tucked inside its mothership and that was inside the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket that blasted into orbit with the ISS resupply cargo module.
Wikipedia says: “This was the SpaceX CRS-3, a cargo resupply mission to the International Space Station, contracted to NASA, which was launched on 18 April 2014. It was the 5th flight for SpaceX’s uncrewed Dragon cargo spacecraft and the third SpaceX operational mission contracted to NASA under a Commercial Resupply Services contract.” Continue reading
by Robert Brand
Andy Nguyen’s Pico Balloon Update: It has now passed over the bottom of Fraser Island in SE Queensland late today and out to sea.
Pico simply means very small balloon and payload.
Andy is hoping that the next stop may be South America in a week’s time. We do not expect to hear from the balloon until then, but it may pass over New Zealand or Tonga. Continue reading
Balloon Headed North
This post was from Yesterday and shows the progress of his balloon. Andy’s Pico Flight progress has been as predicted. It is heading very much north from Melbourne in an unusual jet stream current. It is averaging about 8,000m (8Km – 5 miles) altitude and headed north at an average speed of 80kph (50mph). It recently passed over where Jason and I (Robert Brand) launch our balloons. It was a little west of Rankin Springs! Continue reading
With the help of researcher Brian Larwood and the Carnarvon OTC/NASA Museum, I have found these video gems that that I would like to share. The first is about OTC and the second, NASA.
This first video has only just been found and it details some of the history Carnarvon. Enjoy! Continue reading
Jason and I went to Deniliquin NSW (Australia) to help a good friend, Andy from exOTC Melbourne, launch and recover a high altitude balloon and payload. My son, Jason (11), and I have launched and recovered 16 of our own payloads to date and assisted with many others and we love High Altitude Balloons (HABs) so giving Andy a hand was a real pleasure.
If you were working for OTC in Melbourne in the early 1990s, you will know Andy. He does not want his last name mentioned online. Continue reading
“Old” friends – six of us – met on the Gold coast to celebrate our 60th year.
We were all born in 1953 and most of us have know each since 1972 when we started our careers in OTC / Telstra. Later we have all worked for CBA & EDS. Continue reading
Can other people write up what they are doing in their lives such as farming, sailing, whatever it is we need to know what you are up to and that includes taking it easy. I know that there are some great stories out there even about doing nothing or getting together for the odd drink with an old ex-otc mate and yes we are all getting older!
It had been 42 years since I visited Honeysuckle Creek. I was still a teenager at the time – 19 years old. I had just been working on comms for Apollo missions and had completed a lot of work wiring up comms for Apollo 11 gear at OTC Paddington. I had been on a pilgrimage to know ground zero zero for the reception of Neil Armstrong’s first steps on the moon – Honeysuckle Creek. Continue reading
By Robert Brand
Sorry for the lack of posts – it has been 5 months, but life has gone to being extremely ridiculous workload-wise.
The OTVA has their Autumn Social event on Friday 5th April at the Bowlers Club located at 95-97 York St Sydney. RVSP to Peter Bull so that he can submit the numbers to the Functions Coordinator prior to the day. Respond early to avoid disappointment. Continue reading
Scoresby ( Circa 1986)
This chat was on the ex-OTC group on Facebook. It is great when some of the pictures appear and names are not known by all. This exchange was a community effort to name those in the picture.