Clipped From Redlands Daily Facts
Giant 240-foot ''eye'' being studied in^^^l^^ A giant 240 foot eye that could peer into the depths of outer space to keep tag on United States lunar spacecraft is being studied for Goldstone tracking station, about 30 miles north of Barstow, near Fort Irwin. By next July, the Blaw Knox Company of Pittsburglii Pa., expects to complete a second phase feasibility study concerning 24 0 foot diameter space tracking an tenna. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration awarded a $250,000 contract to Blaw Knox for the study. The planning schedule calls for the 240 foot antenna to] be operational at Goldstone by January 1, 1965. Installation of the giant antenna would be another first for Goldstone, an isolated desert installation nestled against .a low mountain range 13-miles west of Fort Irwin. Except for the tremendous antenna tower in front, the installation resembles a Las Vegas hotel when viewed from a distance. Goldstone was the first tracking station in the United States lo get a solid fix on the famous Echo I satellite which still orbits the earth. . Goldstone is one of three Deep Space Instrumentation Facilities, (DSIF) operated for the NASA by the California Institute of Technology Jet Propulsion Laboratory. The three tracking stations are j located approximately 120 degrees ' apart around the world in order to insure that one of the stations is always in position to maintain radio contact with a spacecraft. At present Goldstone is equipped with two space tracking antennas each 85 feet in diameter. Stations in Woomera, Australia, and near Johannesburg, SoUth Africa each have one 85 foot antenna. While the existing antennas are useful for a variety of space experiments, the larger antennas will permit trackingr "over much greater distances, DrlEberhardt Rechtin, director of DSIF, explained. In addition, he said;:Jhe present DSIF stations are heavily overloaded by the requir^iments of the lunar program. Thus, when it became clear that new antennas would have to be added to the DSIF, initial feasibility studies showed that an increase of three times in the size of the 85 foot antennas would probably improve communications by a factor of ten at a cost competitive with alternate solutions involving spacecraft components. "Although an improvement in communications by a factor oi ten would be useful in deep spac* exploration at any time," Dr. Rechtin said, "this improvement becomes a virtual requirement with the commg of the Saturn class launch vehicles. "These vehicles are capable of launching spacecraft which can perform missions that were not possible before. Typical of these new missions are lunar roving vehicles, photographic lunar and planetary probes and advanced programs associated with manned flight to the moon."