Looking for Surveyor Contacts—Mike Dinn

Mike Dinn would like to contact any ex-Hughes personnel who were at the DSN’s DSS42 Canberra in 1966 for the Surveyor I mission .  There were a dozen or so led by Hal French. Mike was the Deputy Station Director running ops – his first mission experience.

Mike was born and educated in England. After graduating in Electrical Engineering (London) in 1955, he worked in British industry mainly on aircraft electronics and electrics.

In 1960 he moved to Australia, and was responsible for aircraft flight testing instrumentation with the Royal Australian Air Force.

Mike moved to the Canberra Deep Space Tracking Station (Tidbinbilla – part of NASA/JPL’s Deep Space Network) in 1966 as Deputy Station Director in charge of Operations, his first mission being Surveyor 1.

In 1967 he took a similar position at Honeysuckle Creek, one of NASA’s three main communications facilities for the Apollo program, and was actively involved in missions 7 to 14.

He returned to the DSN station during the building of the new 210 ft dish at Tidbinbilla, and spent a year at JPL Pasadena (1972). This antenna supported Apollo 17 as its first task.

After a period in Australia’s Department of Defence he returned to the Deep Space Station in 1983, becoming Director in 1988. NASA’s main missions during this period were Voyager, Magellan and Galileo, but the facility also supported Shuttle until the TDRSS spacecraft were in place.

Mike retired in 1994 – on Apollo 11’s 25th anniversary, having just succeeded in obtaining an Apollo 11 lunar rock for display, which was presented by NASA astronaut John Young.

Mike considers the highlight of his career as being Apollo 11 operations (and in particular the TV of the first lunar step to the world coming through Honeysuckle), closely followed by being at Houston during Apollo 17 and sending some commands from Ed Fendell’s INCO console on Gene Kranz’s shift, and also Apollo 8 where Honeysuckle Creek first came into its own.

Mike was awarded two NASA Public Service Medals – in 1986 and 1995.

Mike can be contacted at mike@dinn.com


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