Fifty years ago, speaking on the value of space exploration, the then Prime Minister of Australia, (Sir) Robert Menzies, in an address to staff and honoured guests at the Tidbinbilla Deep Space Instrumentation Facility (TDSIF), said:
“The stretching out of the borders of our own technological knowledge is so important, …we perhaps direct too much attention to some distant end result and too little to the fact that in this century, increasingly in this century, the country that is backward in these fields will be backward in a hundred ways that may not appear to be closely connected with what is going on. Therefore this is a great step forward, a notable event in this technological period of our lives.”
Prime Minister Robert Menzies at the opening of Tidbinbilla DSIF42. 19 March 1965. Image:CDSCC
‘A great step forward’ was exactly what was taken at the official opening of the TDSIF, now known as the Canberra Deep Space Communication Complex (CDSCC) on the 19th March 1965.
A news clipping about the Australia-US agreement, from the Canberra Times, 7 March 1963. Via: Trove Digitised Newspapers.
Those first steps have since seen both human and robotic space explorers take great strides across the ...