The annual Star Wars Day, May the Fourth (may the force), is a great excuse to talk about another Spaceman coming to Carnarvon in Western Australia.
Stage Three of the Carnarvon Space and Technology Museum will be opened by Captain Gene Cernan, the last man to walk on the moon, on Saturday 28 May. Stage One of the Museum was opened by Apollo 11 astronaut, Buzz Aldrin in 2012, with Stage Two opened by Australian Astronautic, Andy Thomas in 2014.
Live on Stage Australia in association with Mark Stewart Productions (UK) and National Geographic Channel Australia Presents: GENE CERNAN – The Last Man on the Moon – will take place on Saturday 28 May 2016 in Carnarvon on Australia’s Coral Coast. The Premier Screening of the multi-award winning film – The Last Man on the Moon – will include an “In Conversation” with Captain Gene Cernan and Audience Q&A will be hosted by Dr. Lisa Harvey Smith. The film combines rare archive material, compelling visual effects and unprecedented access to present an iconic historical character.
Cernan’s burning ambition carried him to the spectacular and hazardous environment of space and to the moon. But there was a heavy price to pay for the fame and privilege that followed. As his wife famously remarked, ‘If you think going to the moon is hard, try staying at home.’
Gene Cernan will also open the Phase Three of the Carnarvon Space and Technology Museum. The facility was officially opened by Apollo 11 astronaut, Buzz Aldrin in June 2012 and celebrates the little known history of the role Carnarvon played in the manned space program and in the Australian communications industry in the 1960s and 1970s.
Dominating the Carnarvon skyline is the Overseas Telecommunications Earth Station or OTC dish as it’s referred to. The facility was opened in 1966 after Carnarvon was selected as Australia’s first Earth Station site. The OTC dish assisted with the relaying of satellite signals for international telecommunications and alongside the Carnarvon Tracking Station was instrumental in the NASA spaceflight programs including the first landing on the moon. It was also from here that Australia received its first satellite television broadcast. The facility was closed after assisting with the tracking of Hailey’s comet in 1987. The area offers panoramic views of the town, plantations and surrounding country side.
The Museum currently provides an interpretational exhibit of the various space missions. In 2014, Australian astronaut, Andy Thomas opened stage two of the Space and Technology Museum, where you can now watch the ‘Apollo Experience’ with a seven minute simulation which gives you a real experience of what being in a full size Apollo Capsule feels like. The museum also includes a 50 seater theatre that runs short documentaries. This facility will continue to be developed to ensure that the history and significance of the OTC dish and the NASA tracking station is preserved.
The museum is open daily – April to September from 9am to 4pm and October to March from 10am to 2pm. Entry fees apply. For more information or travel planning visit www.australiascoralcoast.com