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Grey photograph of an astronaut’s footprint on the moon's surface taken during the Apollo mission with text in pink which reads ‘Apollo in Ascension, Ascension Island Earth Station and Apollo mission communications’ with Telegraph Museum Porthcurno logo in white.

Apollo in Ascension

New Exhibition for July 2019

To mark the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing, Telegraph Museum Porthcurno presents a new exhibition which celebrates the role played in this historic event by a team of specialist engineers trained here in Porthcurno. The exhibition includes a rare opportunity to see Apollo in Ascension (1967), the 30-minute film commissioned by Cable & Wireless and narrated by actor Julian Glover.

Ascension Island and the Moon Race

Situated in the South Atlantic Ocean, the desolate and remote island of Ascension has been a communications station since 1899 when the Eastern Telegraph Company landed a submarine telegraph cable there connecting Britain to South Africa. During the 1960s and 1970s Ascension became the location of an earth station helping provide round the clock satellite tracking for the Apollo missions.

Designed and built in the UK by Marconi, the earth station was commissioned by Cable and Wireless and transported piece by piece to Ascension, re-built and tested before going operational in March 1967. The station carried information from the moon on to the NASA control rooms via satellite. C&W specialist engineers, many trained here at Porthcurno, were responsible for maintaining the earth station’s electrical circuits and worked on 24-hour standby.

Legacy

The Apollo in Ascension exhibition explores the role of Ascension Island in the historic space race and moon landings including memories from engineers stationed on the island at the time and a rare opportunity to view the 30-min film commissioned by Cable and Wireless.

The exhibition opens at 12.30pm on 20th July 2019 with a special presentation by museum volunteer Pete Johnson titled The Story of Ascension – a Unique Island. Pete was stationed on Ascension during the Apollo moon landing and again in 1996 for the European Space Agency as Technical Director.

The story of Ascension and the Apollo missions will inspire the imaginations of young and old. Family events and activities will be held throughout the summer and you can find out more on our What’s On page.

Summer opening times:

(Monday 1 April 2019 – Friday 1 November 2019)
Open daily from 10 am to 5 pm (last admission is at 4 pm).

Telegraphers’ Tearoom open on these days 10 am to 4 pm