This week’s Picturing the Past
article is from a July 24, 1969 Transylvania Times story titled, “Rosman
Tracking Station Supports The Apollo XI In Indirect, Important Way.”
|Construction of the Rosman Satellite Tracking and Data
Acquistion Facility in January 1963.
Transylvania County has not been just a
bystander in all the recent excitement of man’s first landing on the moon.
The Rosman National Aeronautics and Space
Administration (NASA) Space Tracking and Data Acquisition Network (STADAN)
station had a part in that historic accomplishment.
“We’ve had no direct responsibility to
Apollo XI,” said Gary Dennis, Station Director, “but we have been involved
indirectly through the Applications Technology Satellites and the other
scientific observation satellites we have been working with for the last
“Sometimes,” said Mr. Dennis, “there are
problems in communications with space missions such as Apollo. The usual High Frequency Link is with the
communications ships strategically located for this purpose. But when this link is broken for any reason
we serve as back-up using the ATS satellites we are working with as relays.”
The 200-employee Rosman facility is
primarily concerned with earth orbit scientific exploration and experimental
satellites. These are many and of prime
importance to the entire space effort; the Orbiting Solar Observatory (OSO);
the Orbiting Geophysical Observatory (OGO); the Orbiting Astronomical
Observatory (OAO); the NIMBUS weather satellite; the IMF solar radiations satellite; and the Applications Technology Satellites for testing new ideas in
space meteorological observations, new camera systems, and new communications
It is these new communication systems
which have helped the space flight program in the past and which have earned
the Rosman Facility a place when the history of the spectacular Apollo XI
flight and moon landing is written.
ATS-I, for example, has relayed television
pictures of the moon landing to the millions of people who watched this feat in
South America. The pictures, relayed
from the satellite high above the Pacific, enabled a large part of the world to
view the landing that could not have done so otherwise.
In more direct support of the Apollo XI
flight itself, the Rosman Facility began a full watch on Tuesday afternoon as a
part of the VHF communications link for the recovery of the space men in the
Pacific. With one other STADAN
installation, the one at Mojave, California, and the Aircraft Carrier “Hornet”,
Rosman constitutes part of the critical communications link which operates
until the spacecraft has splashed down and been recovered.
This more direct type of assistance is
actually of much less importance than a less-noted type of support the Rosman
Facility has given the entire space flight program over the 6 years of its
By tracking and reading out weather
satellites, the Roman Facility has contributed heavily to the meteorological
knowledge that has made launch and recovery possible. Space date, on solar radiation, on many
geophysical measurements, read out by the Rosman Facility have contributed
materially to the safety and the astronauts and the success of the many space
The complete article is included in a small display on the 2nd floor at the Transylvania County Library. A presentation on the role North Carolina played in the space race will be held in the Rogow Room on August 15 at 6:30 pm.
Photographs and information for
this column are provided by the Rowell Bosse North Carolina Room, Transylvania
County Library. Visit the NC Room during
regular library hours (Monday-Friday) to learn more about our history and see
additional photographs. For more
information, comments or suggestions contact Marcy at [email protected]
or 828-884-3151 X242.