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Australia and the Space Race: 1957 to 1970

Australia and the Space Race: 1957 to 1970

In 1957, Australian astronomers eagerly prepared for the United States to launch the world’s first orbital, Earth satellite. Organisations like the CSIRO and the Amateur Astronomers’ Club of Sydney set up tracking devices and radios to follow the satellite across the Australian sky. However, on 4 October 1957, the Soviet Union took the world by surprise when it beat the United States and launched its satellite, Sputnik 1. This began the space race.

From 1957 to 1971, the Australian press reported on all major developments of the space race, including Australia’s own involvement through new tracking stations and radio telescopes. Coverage peaked in July 1969 when US astronauts, Neil Armstrong and Buz Aldrin, landed on the moon. Australia avidly watched the second moon landing in November 1969, and followed the plight of the Apollo 13 astronauts in April 1970 when it appeared they might be stranded forever in space.

By late 1970 however, interest in space exploration began to fade and the Australian press switched its attentions to more urgent issues, like the Vietnam War.
H. Messel with a working
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H. Messel with a working
Satellite watchers in Sydney, 8
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Satellite watchers in Sydney, 8
Members of the Visual Satellite
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Members of the Visual Satellite
Members of the Visual Satellite
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Members of the Visual Satellite
Amateur astronomers of Sydney prepare
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Amateur astronomers of Sydney prepare
Amateur astronomers of Sydney prepare
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Amateur astronomers of Sydney prepare
CSIRO radio telescope, Parkes, NSW, 1961
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CSIRO radio telescope, Parkes, NSW, 1961
CSIRO radio telescope, Parkes, NSW, 1961
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CSIRO radio telescope, Parkes, NSW, 1961
Crowds watch the second moon landing, Apollo XII, December 1969
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Crowds watch the second moon landing, Apollo XII, December...
Crowds watch the second moon landing, Apollo XII, December 1969
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Crowds watch the second moon landing, Apollo XII, December...
Crowds in Sydney watch the Apollo XI moon landing, July 1969
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Crowds in Sydney watch the Apollo XI moon landing,...
People pray for the Apollo XIII astronauts, Sydney, 1970
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People pray for the Apollo XIII astronauts, Sydney,...
Crowds in Sydney watch the Apollo XI moon landing, July 1969
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Crowds in Sydney watch the Apollo XI moon landing,...
Crowds watch the second moon landing, Apollo XII, December 1969
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Crowds watch the second moon landing, Apollo XII, December...
CSIRO listens to radio signals from Sputnik I, Sydney, 1957
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CSIRO listens to radio signals from Sputnik I, Sydney,...
CSIRO listens to radio signals from Sputnik I, Sydney, 1957
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CSIRO listens to radio signals from Sputnik I, Sydney,...
Crowds watch the second moon landing, Apollo XII, December 1969
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Crowds watch the second moon landing, Apollo XII, December...
People pray for the Apollo XIII astronauts, Sydney, 1970
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People pray for the Apollo XIII astronauts, Sydney,...
Crowds in Sydney watch the Apollo XI moon landing, July 1969
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Crowds in Sydney watch the Apollo XI moon landing,...
People pray for the Apollo XIII astronauts, Sydney, 1970
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People pray for the Apollo XIII astronauts, Sydney,...
An astronomer tracks the orbit of Sputnik I, Robertson, NSW, 1957
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An astronomer tracks the orbit of Sputnik I, Robertson,...
CSIRO listens to radio signals from Sputnik I, Sydney, 1957
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CSIRO listens to radio signals from Sputnik I, Sydney,...
CSIRO listens to radio signals from Sputnik I, Sydney, 1957
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CSIRO listens to radio signals from Sputnik I, Sydney,...
Crowds watch Sputnik I travel through the night sky, Sydney, 1957
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Crowds watch Sputnik I travel through the night sky,...
Crowds in Sydney watch the Apollo XI moon landing, July 1969
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Crowds in Sydney watch the Apollo XI moon landing,...
Crowds in Sydney watch the Apollo XI moon landing, July 1969
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Crowds in Sydney watch the Apollo XI moon landing,...
Disaster aboard Apollo XIII moon mission, 1970
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Disaster aboard Apollo XIII moon mission, 1970
Disaster aboard Apollo XIII moon mission, 1970
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Disaster aboard Apollo XIII moon mission, 1970
Disaster aboard Apollo XIII moon mission, 1970
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Disaster aboard Apollo XIII moon mission, 1970
Disaster aboard Apollo XIII moon mission, 1970
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Disaster aboard Apollo XIII moon mission, 1970
Disaster aboard Apollo XIII moon mission, 1970
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Disaster aboard Apollo XIII moon mission, 1970
Disaster aboard Apollo XIII moon mission, 1970
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Disaster aboard Apollo XIII moon mission, 1970
Disaster aboard Apollo XIII moon mission, 1970
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Disaster aboard Apollo XIII moon mission, 1970
Disaster aboard Apollo XIII moon mission, 1970
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Disaster aboard Apollo XIII moon mission, 1970
Disaster aboard Apollo XIII moon mission, 1970
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Disaster aboard Apollo XIII moon mission, 1970
Disaster aboard Apollo XIII moon mission, 1970
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Disaster aboard Apollo XIII moon mission, 1970
Disaster aboard Apollo XIII moon mission, 1970
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Disaster aboard Apollo XIII moon mission, 1970
Second moon landing, Apollo XII, 1969
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Second moon landing, Apollo XII, 1969
Second moon landing, Apollo XII, 1969
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Second moon landing, Apollo XII, 1969
Second moon landing, Apollo XII, 1969
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Second moon landing, Apollo XII, 1969
Second moon landing, Apollo XII, 1969
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Second moon landing, Apollo XII, 1969
Second moon landing, Apollo XII, 1969
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Second moon landing, Apollo XII, 1969
Second moon landing, Apollo XII, 1969
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Second moon landing, Apollo XII, 1969
Second moon landing, Apollo XII, 1969
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Second moon landing, Apollo XII, 1969
Second moon landing, Apollo XII, 1969
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Second moon landing, Apollo XII, 1969
Moon landing, Apollo XI, 1969
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Moon landing, Apollo XI, 1969
Moon landing, Apollo XI, 1969
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Moon landing, Apollo XI, 1969
Moon landing, Apollo XI, 1969
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Moon landing, Apollo XI, 1969
Moon landing, Apollo XI, 1969
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Moon landing, Apollo XI, 1969
Moon landing, Apollo XI, 1969
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Moon landing, Apollo XI, 1969
Moon landing, Apollo XI, 1969
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Moon landing, Apollo XI, 1969
Moon landing, Apollo XI, 1969
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Moon landing, Apollo XI, 1969
Moon landing, Apollo XI, 1969
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Moon landing, Apollo XI, 1969
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