Goonhilly – Yesterday, Today + Tomorrow

November 2011 SatMagazine Cover

SatMagazine Cover November 2011

Having been involved one way and another with the Goonhilly satellite earth station for some 35 years, imagine my delight at being asked by Satnews Publishers to write an Insight Feature about it for their monthly SatMagazine. I viewed this as a real honour, since Satnews Publishers is a long-established and arguably the market-leading source of news and in-depth articles about space and the satellite communications industry.

The timescale was very tight and over a weekend, but so what. The only problem was that I needed to gather and verify all sorts of facts, and that meant ruining the weekend of a few colleagues in the UK. They were brilliant and went out of their way to help me. I disturbed one person at 9:00pm UK time on the Saturday night while he was out with his family at the Blackpool Illuminations.
He was good about it but I don’t think his wife will ever speak to me again!

To view the Insight Feature at SatMagazine click here:

“Goonhilly – Yesterday, Today + Tomorrow”

If, after reading the Feature, any of you are interested in the details [Read more…]

Oh Deer – The MX Missile, a Flying Coffin and the Twin Towers

Manhattan Skyline With World Trade Centre

Manhattan Skyline With World Trade Centre

The anniversary of the atrocity committed against the USA has triggered memories of a day some 30 years ago which culminated in a picture-perfect flight into NYC’s La Guardia airport, the approach being down the Hudson River with a sharp turn to port across Manhattan onto the final approach. A stunning afternoon view of Manhattan and the twin towers of the World Trade Centre.

However, the story starts the day before. I was marketing & sales director of a company that I’ll call F-Corp (if there’s a real company called F-Corp, I apologise. It’s not you!). I’d been in the States visiting customers and I flew into the town of Binghamton in upstate New York at about 9:00pm one evening. It was early spring, very cold and with recent snow on the ground.

Why Binghamton? Well, F-Corp had developed a completely new technology for very high-performance, small, light weight microwave filters. These devices had major advantages in airborne and space applications where light weight and stability in extremes of temperature and pressure were essential. They met the US military’s MIL STD 5400E environmental specifications. [Read more…]