Cornwall's part in historic moon landings

19 July 2019, 15:26 | Updated: 19 July 2019, 15:31

We’ve been to meet one of the engineers from Cornwall who made sure we got to see Neil Armstrong set foot on the moon.

Pip Greenaway was on duty at the Goonhilly earth station site, on the Lizard Peninsula, and was one of the first in the world to see the pictures as they were beamed to earth and then around the world.

Due to a late problem with the original satellite dish the signal had six hops including Australia, Japan and America before arriving in the UK.

But, there was no plan B and if the engineers could not get the signal then we may have never have seen these historic pictures.

It took around 6-7 seconds for the signal to be beamed from the moon more than a quarter of a million miles away.

Pip admits the pictures were not brilliant; they were crackly, in black and white and hard to see.

In these analogue days it was the best they could do as it was before the digital era.

Mr Greenaway remembers the historic nature of what they had achieved didn’t really hit him until he finished his shift in the control room and walked outside to make his way home.

“It was then, that I realised while I was not actually on the moon itself, but I was as near as I could get, I played my part in history and I am very proud of that.”

“And if someone had said to me you’d be back 50-years ago to talk about it I wouldn’t have believed them.”

A group of volunteers have kept the site open and now it’s been revealed that Goonhilly will soon be doing what it does best - talking to space.

Work is being carried out to build a data centre and to get the satellite dishes back to working order. 

In 2009, they were going to be demolished, all apart from ‘Arthur’ which is a grade one listed building.

Now, work is taking place to replace all 15 thousand bolts on one of them so when the next space mission starts to Mars and back to the moon, Goonhilly will be there making sure it collects all the data.