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BT to develop Goonhilly satellite site for deep space comms programme

Cliff Saran

After closing the Goonhilly visitor's centre in March 2010, BT has announced it is planning to invest in the historic telecommunications satellite site.

Goonhilly was once the world's largest satellite Earth station, and received the first transatlantic TV transmission in 1962 from the Telstar satellite, a press conference with President John F. Kennedy.

While the site is operated by BT, Goonhilly Earth Station Limited (GES) will be taking a three-year lease on most Goonhilly antennas, including the four largest giant dishes, and an option to purchase the whole site for an undisclosed sum.

GES plans to redevelop the Visitors Centre into a space-themed "outreach centre". The plan has been almost three years in the making and was the brainchild of Ian Jones, managing director of the space sector company, Orbit Research Limited and now CEO of GES.

GES has plans to upgrade the antennas to enable deep space communication with spacecraft missions. The GES partnership with Oxford University includes radio astronomy work focused on the origins of the Universe.


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