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School Satellite Tracking Station

As Russia's cosmonauts orbit the Earth little do they know that a school in Kettering is tracking their every move.

News 1966 6 mins

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Logo for Media Archive for Central England


In the late 1950s enthusiastic science teachers Geoffrey Perry and Derek Slater decided to set up a space tracking station at Kettering Grammar School. They built equipment that could not only track Soviet satellites but actually record the conversations made by the intrepid first Russian cosmonauts. The Americans, who used a different path to orbit Earth, were probably glad that the Kettering wizards could not track them with such ease.

Lionel Hampden is the reporter on this March 1966 item shot for ATV Today in which Perry and Slater and the boys are tracking Kosmos 110, which orbited the Earth with two dogs on board. Later the same year the Kettering group hit the national headlines when they managed to determine the location of a previously secret Russian launch site: the Plesetsk Cosmodrome.