The second man to set foot on the moon, Apollo 11 astronaut Buzz Aldrin, has touched down in Carnarvon in front of more than 1000 fans and been given the keys to the town ahead of opening its space and technology museum.
Dr Aldrin, 82, arrived in Perth on Wednesday before heading to Carnarvon today as part of a visit to mark the West Australian coastal town’s role in the July 21, 1969, moon landing and other US space endeavours.
Carnarvon is on the mid-west coast, about 900 kilometres north of Perth, and the site of two space stations that played vital roles in the missions.
Commissioned by NASA in 1964, the Carnarvon Tracking Station operated for 11 years and was the last point of communication between rockets leaving earth’s orbit and space capsules returning, just before they splashed down in the Pacific Ocean.
The nearby OTC Satellite Earth Station opened in 1966 as part of the global satellite communications system and beamed the first live broadcast into WA - aptly the first moon landing.
The Carnarvon Space and Technology Museum commemorates not only the remote town’s historic role in the space race, but the development of satellite telecommunications in Australia.
Dr Aldrin was the second man to step on the moon after Neil Armstrong.
A third member of the mission, Michael Collins, orbited the moon waiting to pick them up.
Dr Aldrin opened the new museum during the two-day Carnarvon Space Festival, which will be held today and tomorrow.
He has been greeting community members and visitors, and answering questions from school children, with about 500 students turning up to meet him.Dr Aldrin was handed the key to the town by Carnarvon shire president Karl Brandenburg.
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