The Parkes radio telescope points up at the moon forming a silhouette of the dish against an evening sunset sky

The Parkes telescope around the time of the Apollo 11 Moon landing in 1969.

Apollo 11 moon landing: celebrating 40 years

The Apollo 11 moon landing was one giant leap in which CSIRO played a significant role.

  • 17 July 2009 | Updated 1 December 2011

CSIRO is celebrating the 40th anniversary of the first manned moon landing.

It was one giant leap for mankind, and it was taken at 12.56 pm Australian Eastern Standard Time (AEST) on Monday 21 July 1969.

CSIRO's Parkes Radio Telescope in NSW claimed a place in history when it received the television transmission of the Apollo 11 moonwalk.

Six hundred million people watched the momentous occasion.


Restored video sample. Courtesy NASA

The player will show in this paragraph

Apollo 11 moon landing

This video shows Neil Armstrong climbing down the lunar module ladder to the lunar surface. The video compares existing footage with the partially restored video. The thumbnail image shows the new footage on the left and the old on the right.

See all the new videos on the NASA website in high definition.


Three tracking stations received the signals simultaneously, which was relayed to Mission Control at Houston.  They were:

  • CSIRO's Parkes Radio Telescope
  • the Honeysuckle Creek tracking station outside Canberra
  • NASA's Goldstone station in California.
When NASA was switching between the images, it found that the Parkes pictures were of a superior quality, so this footage was used for the remainder of the 2.5 hour telecast.

When NASA was switching between the images, it found that the Parkes pictures were of a superior quality, so this footage was used for the remainder of the 2.5 hour telecast.

For more information on CSIRO's involvement with the Apollo 11 mission click on one of the links on the right of this page, which include newly restored footage released by NASA, a 40th moon landing anniversary podcast and other articles on CSIRO’s involvement in the historic occasion.

Listen to Live from the moon: the 40th anniversary of Apollo 11 (Podcast 17 Jul 09).