Page last updated at 14:06 GMT, Monday, 20 July 2009 15:06 UK

Satellite moon video celebrated

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The pictures from the US were received by the antenna Arthur

A satellite station in Cornwall has been celebrating its part in broadcasting live pictures of the Apollo 11 moon landing to the UK.

On 20 July 1969, Goonhilly Satellite Earth Station relayed the historic pictures of the landing to television screens across the country.

The pictures came via the United States and were received by Antenna One, better known by its nickname "Arthur".

The night of the landing was the first ever all-night broadcast on British TV.

Signal boost

Astronaut Neil Armstrong stepped onto the Moon's surface, in the Sea of Tranquility, at 0256 GMT, nearly 20 minutes after first opening the hatch on the Eagle lunar landing craft.

But technicians at Goonhilly were concerned just before his historic walk that they were not going to receive the pictures after Nasa decided at the last minute to take the moon signal from the Parkes Observatory in New South Wales, Australia.

The Australian station had the clearest of the three tracking stations Nasa was employing around the world.

Former Goonhilly technician Pip Greenaway said: "They had to pick the pictures up from Parkes radio telescope in Australia, reroute them to Houston, America, and boost them."

The Goonhilly team had to ensure it kept across any changes to ensure British broadcasters received the pictures.

Pip Greenaway said: "When it was all over, we felt rather pleased that we had contributed a little part towards 20th Century history."

The BBC's television coverage of the first-ever moon landing consisted of 27 hours of coverage over a 10-day period.

Colour was not yet universal, so the BBC Two sections were in colour but the BBC One sections in black and white.

Arthur first went online in 1962. The 1,118-tonne structure received its satellite signals through its 26m (85ft) wide dish.

It is now a Grade II listed structure.



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