When the historic words of Apollo 11 member Neil Armstrog came out 50 years ago: “It is a small step for man, a great leap for humanity.” few of the 600 million people on Earth do not know that they heard these words thanks to a small island in the Atlantic Ocean. It was Gran Canaria that allowed more than 600 million people in the world to observe the arrival of man on the moon.
“Houston, this is the Base of Tranquility. The Eagle has landed! ” These words after landing the module on the Moon, as well as the legendary words mentioned above when climbing the Moon, the first satellite station to receive these words was in Maspalomas, in the south of Gran Canaria. It was here that US scientists decided to build a satellite station in the 1960s with space programs. Many tourists, when looking at satellites from the lighthouse in Maspalomas, have no idea what significant role they have played in human history.
Earth’s first contact with the moon
The Maspalomas satellite picked up the signal first. Despite minor glitches and worsening weather conditions, the black and white shots of the first man’s walk on the Moon’s surface were out of focus and watched by more than 600 million people. Television signals from the Moon were later captured by the Goldstone observatories in the US and Honeysuckle Creek in Australia.
Neil Armstrong descended the lunar ladder on July 21, 1969 at 2:56 UTC and was the first man in history to set foot on the surface of the Moon. As mentioned by the Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias in its materials, Armstrong’s voice from the Moon went directly to Maspalomas, beyond the telephone line to Las Palmas, from there via a short wave transmission to England, from the British Isles to the US with an undersea cable. followed by a short broadcast to Houston.
At the top of the Montaña Blanca
The station was originally built for NASA Mercury. In the years 1960-1975, the station provided the Mercury, Gemini, Apollo, Apollo-Soyuz, and Skylab programs. The station is operated by INTA (National Institute of Aerospace Technology) in cooperation with ISA (Aerospace Engineering and Services) for ESA (European Space Agency). The station is dominated by a 15-meter antenna that allows the reception of signals in the S and X bands and the transmission in the S band. Located on the top of Montaña Blanca above Pasito Blanco. The location of the antenna is also justified. The antenna coordinates are + 27 ° 45’46.40 “, -35 ° 38’01.68” at 205.1 meters above sea level, which corresponds to the reference ellipsoid WGS-84, which is a reference value of the geoid of the Mathematically defined earth.
Apollo 11 crew in Gran Canaria
The fact that Gran Canaria mediated the union of the crew with Earth was also reflected in the continuation of the lives of Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins. During her world tour in October 1969, Gran Canaria was the first place outside the United States to visit. Armstrong, Aldrin and Collins and their families were staying at the newly opened Maspalomas Oasis Hotel, now RIU Palace Oasis. During their stay, their host was the owner of the hotel, Alejandro del Castillo y del Castillo, VIII. Count de la Vega Grande de Guadalupe with his children.
In addition to the official program, the crew had the opportunity to get to know the island and its traditions during many trips and events. Social nights with local artists, boat trips, visit to GuiGui beach, ride through the dunes of Maspalomas on camels. This is just a small part of the program they have completed. The fact that they liked Gran Canaria is evidenced in the words of Neil Armstrong, who answered the journalists’ question: “What did it feel like to walk on the moon?” Neil Armstrong responded: “It was an incredible experience. The moon is a wonderful place like Maspalomas. Like all of Gran Canaria ”.
I would like to thank you for the photos of the Condé de Vega Grande de Guadalupe, IMACO89 imagen & Comunicación S.L. and RIU hotels & resorts, to which I also thank the opportunity to access the hotel chronicle and the Apollo 11 donation.
Did you like this article, was it useful to you? You can also support the creation of this website by sending any amount to ES08 0049 5735 1122 1616 5370, swift BSCHESMM. Include “Canaria Guide Support” in the note. Thank you for supporting.