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9th of January 2019
50th Anniversary of Apollo 8
December 2018 marked the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 8 mission, the first crewed spacecraft to orbit the Moon. Honeysuckle Creek's 26m antenna, together with a 26m antenna at Tidbinbilla and a 9m antenna at Carnarvon, were key elements of the tracking station network supporting the mission. Apollo 8, crewed by Frank Borman, Jim Lovell, and Bill Anders, was placed in an elliptical 312 by 111 kilometre orbit around the Moon. Hamish Lindsay, in his account of the mission, available from the the Honeysuckle Creek Tracking Station website, notes that the astronauts were somewhat underwhelmed by their first close-up views of the lunar surface. Borman's description was “It looked like the burned-out ashes of a barbecue,” Lovell's, “It’s like a sand pile my kids have been playing in for a long time. It’s all beat up with no definition. Just a lot of bumps and holes,” and Anders', “It looks whitish-grey, like dirty beach sand with lots of footprints in it”!

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