compassion, collaboration & cooperation iN transistion
IS a large radiocommunication site located on Goonhilly Downs near Helston
on the Lizard peninsula in Cornwall, England, which is now owned by
Goonhilly Earth Station Ltd under a 999-year lease from BT Group plc.
[IT] was at one time the largest satellite earth station in the world, with
more than 25 communications dishes in use and over 60 in total. Its
first dish, Antenna One (dubbed "Arthur"), was built in 1962 to link
with Telstar. It was the first open parabolic design and is 25.9 metres
(85 feet) in diameter and weighs 1,118 tonnes.
After Centre de télécommunication par satellite de Pleumeur-Bodou
(Brittany) • which received the first live transatlantic television
broadcasts from the United States via the Telstar satellite at 0H47 GMT
on July 11, 1962 • Arthur received it's first video in the middle of the
[IT] IS now a Grade II listed structure and is therefore protected.
The site also links into undersea cable lines and has also played
a key role in communications events such as the Muhammad Ali
fights, the Olympic Games, the Apollo 11 Moon landing, and
Bob Geldof's 1985's Live Aid concert.
It was Linnie's dad who first explained to me as a teenager, what the difference and/or
significance between a radio valve and a transistor was. These teenage entries of his in
a school textbook, underline the fact that he was most certainly destined to become a
shining light for those hundreds of British Telecom engineers who turned up to his
funeral in North London.
This 32-metre antenna is now undergoing an important transformation.
Soon, it will be ready to communicate with spacecraft across deep space.
ESA currently has three deep-space dishes in Australia, Spain and
Argentina, providing full sky coverage for tracking and communicating
with missions at Mars such as ExoMars and Mars Express as well as
BepiColombo - currently on its way to Mercury. Future ESA missions
such as Solar Orbiter, Euclid and Cheops will soon be added to this list.
However, by the middle of the next decade, ESA’s deep-space
communication needs for its current and upcoming missions is expected
to exceed present capacity by around half. This is why ESA teams are
excited by the upgrade of Goonhilly 6, which will enable the UK station
to provide Europe’s first commercial deep-space tracking services,
compliment ESA’s own ESTRACK stations and provide deep-space
tracking for both space agencies and private business.
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