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Canadian space buffs "sad" as Kennedy Antenna meets scrap metal end


Get ready to say goodbye to the Kennedy Antenna – a parabolic dish used to track the 1962 satellite that established Canada as the third country in space.

The Canadian Space Agency says the 60-foot artifact from the country’s pioneering space era will become scrap metal , according to Blacklock’s Reporter.

“This is historically significant,” said Marcus Leech, president of the Canadian Centre for Experimental Radio Astronomy of Smiths Falls, Ont.

“It’s a shame, but the Space Agency succumbed to pressure to remove it.”

The Kennedy Antenna was set up in Ottawa at a Department of National Defence compound to track Alouette 1, Canada’s first satellite.

But “it was left unused for many years,” the CSA wrote in a contract notice to scrap dealers.

Leech said his group was unsuccessful in trying to raise funds to save it from the scrap heap.

“Nobody could raise the budget to simply relocate it, so it’s being demolished,” said Leech.

“Our group worked for about seven years to restore it for use in radio astronomy, but with an exceedingly meager budget and ongoing site access issues it was clear we weren’t going to be successful. The Space Agency asked that we abandon the project. This is sad for us.”

The antenna, named for its now-defunct Massachusetts manufacturer D.S. Kennedy Company, was decommissioned in 1987 while the Alouette satellite remains in space after 58 years with long-expired batteries.

“It is still in orbit but it is not active,” said CSA spokesperson Andrea Matte.

Copyright Postmedia Network Inc., 2020

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