The Deep Space Connection Between Goonhilly and the Moon

Spencer Knowles/Flickr

Cornwall-based Goonhilly Earth Station has been standing as a crucial part of lunar exploration history in communications since men have first stepped on the moon’s surface. Goonhilly Station broadcasted the historic Apollo 11 moon landing images throughout the UK and Europe in July 1969. The past main satellite of the station named “Arthur” helped pave the way for astronaut images to reach televisions throughout the UK and Europe.

Since the Apollo 11, Goonhilly has been tracking and monitoring different spacecrafts of the world’s largest satellite operators. The site has been also invested upon by different organizations and individuals until it became suitably advanced for the needs of different companies and organizations for space missions globally.

The Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) invested £8.4 million for improving deep space communication of the station. Goonhilly also received a  £24 million investment in May 2018 from the UK billionaire, Peter Hargreaves, to expand the station’s site for future assistance in space missions.

Goonhilly’s technological advancements helped in creating a long-term partnership between Goonhilly, Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd (SSTL), and Astrobotic. The trio formalized their partnership at the 34th space symposium in April 2018 at Colorado Springs, US, to innovate technologies and support different lunar missions of different space organizations worldwide.

By 2020, the American space logistics company, Astrobotic, along with Goonhilly and SSTL, aims to launch unmanned payloads that to the moon by 2020 to explore the undiscovered locations of the moon. Such payloads will carry scientific instruments, devices, and other equipment from clients such as space companies, universities, and non-profit organizations.

In future operations, SSTL will relay data to payloads in space, and Goonhilly Earth Station in Cornwall will receive the transmitted data of SSTL from payloads. Afterwards, the received data in Cornwall will be sent to payload clients.

The future of Goonhilly lies on the ever-existing pursuit of man for answers. Now, it is time to wait and see the success of man with the help of the Goonhilly Earth Station.


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