Satellite Earth Stations
Goonhilly Downs, Helston, Cornwall, England, UK
Goonhilly Satellite Earth Station
+50 2' 55.72", -5 10' 48.08"
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Goonhilly Satellite Earth Station is a large telecommunications site located on Goonhilly Downs near Helston on the Lizard peninsula in Cornwall, England, UK. Owned by BT Group plc, it was at one time the largest satellite earth station in the world, with more than 25 communications dishes in use and over 60 in total. The site also links into undersea cable lines. It is to cease satellite operations in 2008.

Its first dish, Antenna One (dubbed "Arthur"), was built in 1962 to link with Telstar. It was the first open parabolic design and is 29.5 metres in diameter and weighs 1,118 tonnes. Arthur received the first live transatlantic television broadcasts from the United States via the Telstar satellite on July 11, 1962. It is now a Grade II listed structure and is therefore protected. The site's largest dish, dubbed "Merlin", has a diameter of 32 metres. Other dishes include Guinevere, Tristan and Isolde after characters in Arthurian legend.

The earth station is powered by the national grid. If power fails, all essential equipment will run off huge batteries for 20 seconds, during which four one-megawatt diesel generators will kick in. The nearby wind generator farm is not part of the complex.

A visitor centre at the site attracts technically minded tourists. Inside, the Connected Earth gallery tells the history of satellite communications. Additionally there are many interactive exhibits, a cafe, a shop and one of Britain's fastest cyber-cafes (a one gigabit pipe and a theoretical maximum speed per iMac of 100Mbit). There are also tours around the main BT site and into the heart of Arthur.

On 12 September 2006, BT announced it would shut down satellite operations at Goonhilly in 2008, and move them to Madley in Herefordshire, which would become BT's only earth station and the biggest in the world.

SOURCE: Wikipedia Goonhilly Satellite Earth Station

Goonhilly Satellite Earth Station The official BT Goonhilly site

Goonhilly Earth Station fullscreen QTVR panoramas

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Credit:  madnzany
The sky, the tree and the satellite dish
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Credit:  madnzany
The second dish, called Merlin, sends signals into the brooding clouds, into space.
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Photo Gallery
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'Arthur', the oldest dish at Goonhilly Earth Station.
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Rear view of 'Arthur'
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Side view of 'Arthur'
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Front view of 'Arthur'
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