Well consider that you have just completed a station refit for the Moon Missions including installing a second 20 kW transmitter and 20 thousand volt 4 amp power supply. As big as a room and all of the cabling required to do it., , that you have re-plumbed, retuned to optimum all of the waveguides on the antenna. Installing a completely new station Earthing system. Working over the control electronics to phase up two three phase two megawatt Caterpillar generators at full power, to so tune a waveguide switching system to be able to switch between the two transmitters at full power. In less than three seconds without blowing up either transmitter or burning up and melting the S-Band waveguide system. You have then gone through an eight week indoctrination program and operator training program involving flying Helicopters and very big aircraft redesigning the and having manufacture a novel Antenna suitable for flying under the rotating blades of a helicopter without modulating the radio beams, simulating space craft, that you have designed and had fabricated a new VSWR measuring instrument and then applied it in practice hanging by your toe nails more than one hundred feet above a plain concrete surface in all weathers. Tuning and collimating the SCM (S-Band Cassegrain Monopulse Tracking Antenna as well as extra waveguides to feed the SAA (acquisition aid S-Band 30 dB gain and matching it to the new system. Completely retuning a Parametric Amplifier that some itchy fingered yoof what don’t know nuffink about it has screwed up, and being very pleased to produce a stable 50 dB Gain Bandwidth product from it, it never had that in the factory after manufacture, but it succumbed to my magic touch, That you have gone over the system with a fine toothed comb devised and run mechanical tests to ensure the Station Director that he may have confidence in the waveguide system and that it will not break down at any Antenna speed or attitude by the weight cracking open the pressurised waveguide and feed horn system. I devised that test in ten minutes flat and it was run by the shifts for enough hours to satisfy Dear old Bob Leslie the Station Director, fitted up a complete MSN control room and incorporated all of the coaxial and control boxes etc required to switch over completely from the DSN control Room to the MSN control room. Then travelling an hour each end of fourteen hour shifts and the prospect of continuous shift until the spacecraft lands back on Earth with three men still intact.
The following illustrates some of Gary’s extensive knowledge of that historic event.
Neil Armstrong would have been briefed just before take off on the evening before, probably at a pre-flight briefing meeting or even confidentially verbally by his immediate boss or the Mission Controller. Most of what went on was well scripted, we had copies of the scripts of what was to happen and the GET alongside each action, the instruction were something like GET + 36:41.30 take tool C from Box D tighten the pilot retention nuts, return tool C to slot e Box D. GET … and so on. There was a scientific reason for this level of preplanning, all food and poos were weighed the calorific value of food before take off and the calorific value of the returned poo difference to show energy used by astronaut for the actions recorded in the script. The poo was stored in the fridge in the slots where the food had been taken from , (of course in sealed plastic packs. Can you imagine living for the duration of the mission in that tiny space where the seal between bum and bag was less than perfect at evacuation? I became quite expert at answering this query, it was a part of our duty to take turns to show visitors around the tracking station, some liked it others didn’t and were glad to shed the responsibility onto those that did like it. The scientific reason for collecting the poos was in order to have data to provision a ship to Mars. A few grams one way or the other and the spacecraft would either not launch or the astronauts would starve to death before reaching Mars. After the first few times I was one of those that did not like showing ordinary visitors around, most were technically illiterate but you could guarantee that the most often asked question was how do they poo in space. Those bloody Briefing and de briefing sessions seemed to go on interminably. No notes were taken bay a secretary at those meetings I don’t know if they were sound recorded because they were kept as informal as possible on the Lines of a Sunday Soviet started during the War by R V Jones et al. at I think Malvern and later in other parts of the intelligence service. The idea is to get the best ideas out of everyone and take to best possible course of action building in any contingency that any-one might think of. Apart from the final countdown briefing to Occur at Tidbinbilla later that day or early in the morning of the next day most of that was done so my encounter with Monkton was post the big pre launch briefing at Tidbinbilla, which would have been before the pre-launch briefing at the Cape but prior to our last short pre countdown calibrations usually about eight hours long for a big spectacular like this. To my way of thinking the system was over tweaked and I managed to prove it at one point and a load of the monitoring analogue amplifier level and balance setting was cut out, consequently the data started to make sense and any trends could be more easily detected. In the end the calibration pots on those amplifiers were left for the crystals to grow between wiper and track. The voltages to the indicator lamps was turned down from 24 Volts to 18 Volts, most of the lamps were those of that type that had been used on telephone system. At the point where I suggested that the lamp power supplies be turned down NASA was using up the world supply of those lamps, after implementing my change I do not recall a single lamp being changed. The effect on the brightness of the lamp was quite un noticeable after a couple of days. A reliable indicator was now available instead of a super souped up over tuned unstable monitoring system.