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Friday, 10 April 2015
A life of space
A life of space
Venue: Patrick Moore Astronomy Club House, La Moye, St Brelade - for detailed directions and map, click on http://jerseyastronomyclub.weebly.com/ April 13 - David Le Conte will be coming over to Jersey to speak about his career in the USA, working on a NASA-funded space-tracking project for the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory during the 1960s Apollo programme, and his later work at Kitt Peak National Observatory in Arizona. In an illustrated talk he will describe the photographic records made of the Apollo spacecraft and what it was like to watch the moon landings.
This event is free to members but open to the general public at £5 entrance fee and the venue is the Jersey Astronomy Club. See Home page for directions.
In the mid 1960s this "little lad from Guernsey" found himself at the heart of the space race to the moon.
Amongst the many thousands of people working behind the scenes to make this moment possible was David Le Conte. Now known to most islanders thanks to his work with La Société Guernesiaise, of which he is a Past President, and as a Jurat of the Royal Court, David's previous career took him all over the world and all thanks to his love of astronomy. He is a Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society, was responsible for the creation of Guernsey’s Astronomical Observatory, and astronomical adviser for the Guernsey Liberation Monument.
In 1968 David worked in Hawaii where he photographed the Apollo 8 mission at the moment its Saturn V rocket took the first men to escape Earth orbit and eventually to the moon.
After this his job moved to Arizona where he was based in 1969 at the time of the Apollo 11 moon landing. He described his role there as "photographing the spacecraft as far out as we could and also photographing 'space dumps' in order to determine something of the character of space".
As Neil Armstrong stepped off the ladder of 'The Eagle' lunar module David said he and his friends, colleagues and family "not only breathed a sigh of relief but we cheered".