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Space Age - Pioneer V is Tracked 1.6 Million Miles in Space

EAR TO PIONEER – Scientists at the U.S. Army Signal Research and Development Laboratory, Fort Monmouth, tracked the U.S. Pioneer-V space-probe to a distance of 1.6 million miles with this huge antenna, which is 50 feet in diameter and can be aimed at any part of the sky (USASRDL Photo)

Published in The Monmouth Message – March 31, 1960

Fort Monmouth – A team of Signal Corps scientists, using a huge 50-foot dish-shaped antenna here, has tracked the U.S. Pioneer-V space probe rocket to a distance of 1.6 million miles as it soars to an orbit around the sun.  The work is a part of the over-all tracking program of the Astro Observation Center.

The radio observation center is expected to re-establish contact with the space probe and track it beyond five million miles when the rocket’s high power transmitter is triggered on in several weeks. The Fort Monmouth station located at the Evans Area of the U. S. Army Signal Research and Development Laboratory near Belmar is headed by Alan Gross of Lakewood, and George Goubeaud and John W. Mount, both of Long Branch.  Also on the team of tracking scientists are Charles A. Krauss of Neptune, of Riviera Beach, and William F. Loehning of Neptune.

Signals from the big dish antenna, called ‘Diana,’ are fed to special instruments at the laboratory for doppler analysis, which yields valuable information about the rocket’s position and direction of motion.  These figures are automatically transmitted to a computer in Washington that keeps track of the probe.

Diana is a direct descendant of the historic Signals Corps antenna hat bounced man’s first radar signal off the moon in 1946 from the same Fort Monmouth site.  The new dish, originally designed for moon bounce research has been a valuable installation in the U.S. tracking network.  It is a participant in all U.S. space probe launchings and was the only station in the country to track Russia’s Lunik-II rocket.

page created September 02, 2000

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