A serious bout of ill-health forced him to abandon a successful career in politics but, in the intervening 10 years, Andrew Tink has become the successful author of five books of biography and history. His latest is Honeysuckle Creek: The Story of Tom Reid, A Little Dish and Neil Armstrong’s First Step (NewSouth). That first step on the moon: all of us of sufficient age remember where we were when we saw that amazing TV footage but few of us realised what a crucial role Australians played in bringing it to the world.
Andrew Tink’s wonderful new book is part biography, part technical explanation of admirable clarity and part space age thriller. That moon mission was tracked from three sites equidistant around the globe: Goldstone in California, Madrid and Honeysuckle Creek south of Canberra; they collectively provided continuous two-way communication between the Apollo 11 astronauts and Mission Control in Houston. The excellent, but self-effacing Director of Honeysuckle Creek, Tom Reid, had built such a splendid team of technicians, they were able to provide vision far superior to that from Goldstone. At the crucial moment of Armstrong descending the ladder, Goldstone’s image was unclear and upside down! Houston switched to the Honeysuckle feed; thus the world received clear, unforgettable images.
This is a cracker of a book about a wonderful man, his team and their remarkable, but largely unrecognised technical and personal achievements.
You might disagree with half of it, but you’ll enjoy reading all of it. Try your first 10 weeks for just $10