Project ThunderStruck

Project ThunderStruck set to Break Barriers ThunderStruck vertical

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

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Saving Apollo 11 – erh – no!

Spaceflight-Cover-2014-12Spaceflight Interview.

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

Apollo Heritage Interview

Hangout-Ad006Apollo 11 45th Anniversary Hangout – Apollo Heritage and the GLXP.

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

Apollo 11 45th Interview

Hangout 006 GLXP Apollo 11 45thRobert 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 11, 45th Anniversary Memories

Photo by Richard Holl (L-R) Ted Knotts, Dick Holl and Elmer Fredd standing in front of the Parkes Scanconverter at OTC Paddington following the mission.

Photo by Richard Holl (L-R) Ted Knotts, Dick Holl and Elmer Fredd standing in front of the Parkes Scanconverter at OTC Paddington following the mission

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

A Visit to Honeysuckle Creek

hsk_1971_tnMy Return to Honeysuckle Creek

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

Apollo Video

Stan Lebar and Apollo cameraStan Lebar

by Robert Brand

With my “Space” work, it has been my privilege to meet many people and communicate with them via the Internet. It is most unfortunate that I did not meet Stan Lebar, but I have corresponded with his family on many occasions and this morning his son Scott sent me a message. Although not relevant to OTC, it has prompted me to post this story.

It was Stan’s cameras that brought us the images from the Apollo missions that OTC relayed through Paddington (Apollo 11) and Moree. Stan’s wife wrote to me thanking me for my support of her husband’s work and Scott Lebar is a newspaper editor but enjoys my Apollo historic stories and often comments on them. Continue reading

Neil Armstrong Dies aged 82

Complications from Heart Surgery Takes the First Moon Walker

[Ed] I have met most of the Apollo moon walkers and command module pilots but I never met Neil Armstrong. Unlike Buzz Aldrin, Neil had become somewhat reclusive. He avoided public appearances and refused to sign autographs. He was still passionate about space and spoke his mind on where NASA should point their rockets. As one on the many exOTC staff that supported the Apollo 11 mission, I am saddened by the world’s loss of an extraordinary astronaut that had ice water flowing in his veins. He was one cool guy that was able to walk away from many failures where others would have perished. We will miss you – Robert Brand

News article from NASA

The following is a statement from NASA Administrator Charles Bolden regarding the death of former test pilot and NASA astronaut Neil Armstrong. He was 82. Continue reading

Life After OTC

Robert Brand Part 3

Gene Cernan and Robert Brand

Life takes some pretty interesting turns and my headlong rush into the space sector started 3 years ago as mentioned in Part 1 and Part 2. Pat Barthelow, a HAM radio operator from the US, asked the OTVA to organise a Moon Bounce for the 40th Anniversary of Apollo 11 back in June 2009. After the next 12 months my knowledge of space had grown considerably as I was posting stories on my Echoes of Apollo Website.

http://echoesofapollo.com Continue reading

The Carnarvon Space And Technology Museum

Buzz in Carnarvon for the Opening

A nice bit of video from Buzz Aldrin’s arrival in Carnarvon for the opening of the new Space and Technology Museum. The site is the old OTC and NASA property at Carnarvon in Western Australia.

Colin Benporath is there and when he returns I hope to post a more detailed story and some of his pictures. Until then here are two videos showing Buzz Aldrin’s arrival and a video showing some background on the moon support Continue reading

Apollo 11 Paddington Video

ABC coverage showing Paddington during Apollo 11

I just spotted this video with more shots of the Apollo 11 gear at Paddington. It is with credit to ABC TV. Not a lot to say about this, but it was broadcast the day before the Apollo 11 moon landing. The video quality is extremely good for the era but since it was for Australian TV at the time it was all black and white. There are also shots of Honeysuckle Creek. Continue reading

Apollo 11 Video and Wayne Ozarko

Search For Apollo 11 tapes

As many will know there has been a concerted effort to find the Apollo 11 video data tapes. The NASA files were apparently over-written in an attempt by NASA to save on computer tape. There were other copies made here in Australia but the problem is that no-one has any idea where the digital tapes were stored or even if they were destroyed or not. Continue reading

Buzz Aldrin Headed to Carnarvon

Buzz AldrinScuba Diving is a Buzz at Carnarvon – by Robert Brand

During a Space conference in the US last week, I had the opportunity to talk about the importance of Carnarvon to the Apollo 11 mission and other Apollo missions with Apollo 11 moon-walker Buzz Aldrin.

Buzz was very flattering about the importance of the NASA site at Carnarvon and the world class communications required to keep them in contact with other NASA sites. He said that the team took note of the Carnarvon area as they passed over it, wondering about the remoteness of the region and security of the links. Continue reading

Carnarvon Celebrations

June 22 & 23, Buzz Aldrin will be in Carnarvon

The opening of the Carnarvon Space and Technology Museum

This is a big story for the exOTC staffers. The preservation of these sites is a huge leap forward over the dishes that were left rust and corrode at Carnarvon. I so wish I could make it for the celebrations but I expect that there will be a few exOTC staff in the area and traveling for the big event.

Continue reading

Jamesburg Earth Station For Sale

Robert Brand and Jamesburg Earth Station.

It was about when I was 17 years old that I (Robert Brand) first heard of Jamesburg Earth Station. I was a second year trainee at the Dept of Civil Aviation Regional Training School at Waverton and assigned to the International Maintenance Centre (IMC) at Paddington for field training. I was asked to wiring up some Apollo 11 jumpering for Wayne Ozarko and I learned of this site as the received dish for the transmissions from Moree for the Apollo 11 moon landing.

Continue reading

OTC and Apollo 11

Apollo 11 40th anniversary Celebrations

This article was published by me (Robert Brand) as part of the Apollo 11 celebrations. The OTVA and OTC stories were told to the world through many media including radio.
This was published 40 year after Apollo 11 took off and it was 57 hours into the relived flight:

Apollo 11 right now (minus 40 years) and 57+ hours into the mission
Skip back 40 years to the minute with Apollo 11

Continue reading