ARIA and Skylab

Credit: Windfall Films

In 2009 I was contacted by Lee Reading from Windfall Films, London, England. Windfall Films was producing Big, Bigger, Biggest, highlighting Telescopes and Space Stations.

Lee contacted me through the web site tasked with researching this project. I was able to provide technical information on the antenna control console and the parabolic antenna and antenna drive housed in the radome.

After completion of the production, Windfall Films provided a copy of the show to me. I viewed the video, and a problem in the portrayal of the ARIA mission was quite evident. I immediately contacted Windfall Films explaining the problem.

The problem? Windfall Films portrayed eight ARIA aircraft continuously flying around the earth, providing continuous communication abilities to Skylab. They corrected this error before being aired.

Being a former ARIA antenna control operator, I wanted the portrayal of the parabolic antenna operation portrayed correctly. They did an outstanding job with the animation of the antenna drive. However, they took artistic license with the portrayal of the equipment in the aircraft. They did at least show the antenna control had elevation and azimuth manual control knobs. Dipole antennas initially mounted to the parabolic dish antenna were not represented in the animation.

Randy L. Losey

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