Y'herd thisun? 

“Falcon One is going to be the lowest cost per flight to orbit of any production rocket. Which means we’re cheaper than the Chinese, cheaper than [the] Russians or anywhere else – and we’re doing it in the United States with American labour costs.”
-Elon Musk


TaggedSpace, CaliforniaMusings

We'd all been talking about heading up to Goldstone since Dave Doody's Interplanetary Flight classes last June but something always came up or the logistics grew to fearsome levels and nothing came of it (a microcosm of the last four decades of NASA Human Spaceflight, as below so above). 

Finally Jorge sent out an email saying "I'm going November 2nd, who's with me?"  And just setting the date in stone - and not so far out that it would end up unwinding again - got it to actually happen.  (Hear that you folks believing that anyone is going to an Asteroid in 2025?) 

One hour out of the Valley to the meetup in Pomona, then two and a half hours filled with great space debate and we were there.


Here're the pics of the Goldstone Deep Space Network dishes... Enjoy!



Coming up on Fort Irwin


You get the clear impression that rules WILL be followed while in the area.


Take a left on NASA Road and the office compound starts to come into view.


Some views of the Goldstone Museum





2001 Mars Odyssey has the biggest poster of the Mars section.  Great to see more proof that at the time the Human-Affecting radiation experiment was a major focal point (sad to know that, quickly after the fact, a concerted effort appeared to go into removing that experiment from the public and professional minds


For such a small museum... it's a very big museum!

There is no doubt at all that it is keep with a great deal of personal love for the program.






Leslie, our tour guide for the day and the manager of the museum.




Heading out to the Pioneer Station



The big dish that looks like an antique general store coffee grinder is the original.  Originally used for the lunar Pioneers in '58 and '59 this double coned old lady also played backup for the Apollo missions. It's decommissioned but it appears to be very well taken care of (maybe it's just the desert climate). 


THe current primary dish of the site. (Man it was cold in that shadow.)


Another of the Pioneer dish.



Heading out to the Big Dish at Mars Station.
There are a bunch of pics here, the switches between full view and telephoto may make you seasick but I was trying to get the scale of it all as we drove... and failed. 

The first view is from several minutes away, if that helps at all to get the perspective right in your head.




Still driving...


Still driving...


Stil driving, it just gets bigger and bigger.


Finally we come up on the sign (readable if you zoom the page)


This one is full view from after passing that sign, you can see that we are still quite a ways away.


 Now it's starting to visibly grow.



But you see that we still have a distance to go!


Parked in the lot and looking up.. my widest view could not get it all in.


I took a bunch for use as computer desktops
(these compressed-for-the-web files still seem to look good at 1920, hope you can use them)


Walking backwards into the desert to get more into frame...



Up to the fencing for a few...




Looking back from the JPL control house, the yellow tape is a remnant of the Halloween decorations :-). 




Passing the No-Pictures-Please computer rack room (boy, the racks and much of the units looked ancient), we get to the JPL fishbowl where the techs must feel like they're in a zoo. 

Note the Canberra and Madrid station clocks.


More of the dish... no way to get a good feel for the size of this thing. 

Like The Grand Canyon or Kennedy's Rocket Garden (or the way every single solitary Astronaut describes their view) you have to see it... robot eyecams and the highest resolution Hubble pictures or the best a person with a lens can do here is simply never going to give you the vista.


The dish was moving while we stood there, you could barely hear it and barely tell unless you stood still and watched closely, but it was tracking.  I asked Leslie what it was working on and she said very casually "It's Mars, maybe Express...  no, Odyssey."  For me, standing right there while it was speaking with my favorite, it was a moment kinda like being at the Zeppelin reunion. 

Wierd huh?  True though.








My tourmates in front help tell the scale?  Nope, because to get everything into view we had to walk way out into the desert.

(Hi Jorge & Nick!)


Contrary to some other reports, if you ain't got the right badges (or aren't a relative of a Congress member) you ain't going in anymore.

I mentioned to Leslie that this is funnier when you have seen the movie The Dish (Netflix has it on dvd, Amazon has it for streaming)... because that funny true movie shows how things were when the red tape hadn't yet been converted to NASA granite.


And heading out... 


Driving back past stations that weren't on the official tour... but no tanks were around so we stopped for a look. 


Um... this station is WAAAAAAAAAAAAAY in the distance, the pic is major telephotoed.  The huge bright ground between us is the Goldstone Lake... quite dry, was used as the airfield for decades. 


We saw no other traffic, but had the feeling it would show up if we went too far off track.


Passing back by the office compound.









When we are all gone and forgotten, will this thing and the dish blocks be a mystery like the odd stuff sticking out of the sand now in Egypt? 




Gemini, the closest station to the Fort Irwin turnoff




The last feature of Fort Irwin... a perfect match to the Goldstone transceiver facilties, the solitary wolf in communion with unseen companions.

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