Frederick Gregory is the highest ranking NASA representative to visit Australia since Administrator Fletcher visited in 1971. He has an impressive record as an astronaut having been the first-ever African-American Space Shuttle Commander. Frederick D. Gregory has served as the Deputy Administrator of NASA since 2002.
Mr Gregory was in Australia to help celebrate the 40th anniversary of the NASA tracking station at Tidbinbilla, near Canberra, on Sunday, 14 August. He was accompanied on his visit to Parkes by Peter Churchill, the Director of the Tidbinbilla Tracking Station, Mr John Dunn, Director of NASA Operations at Tidbinbilla and by Dr Neal Newman, the NASA Representative in Australia.
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Frederick Gregory at the "DISH"
Mr Gregory addressed the staff and thanked them for their support of the various NASA missions over the years. Dr John Reynolds, the Officer-in-Charge of the CSIRO Parkes Observatory, responded and welcomed Mr Gregory to the Observatory. Mr Gregory presented the Observatory with a photo montage. Dr Lewis Ball, the Deputy Director of the CSIRO's ATNF, accepted it on behalf of all the current and past staff members.
Following his address, Mr Gregory was taken on a hay-ride to inspect the dish and the control room of the telescope.
Right Image (L-R): Mr Peter Churchill, Mr John Dunn, Dr Lewis Ball, Mr Gregory, Dr John Reynolds and Dr Neal Newman.
The Civic Reception in Parkes
The Civic Reception was held in the Coventry Room of Parkes Council Chambers. Cr Robert Wilson greeted Mr Gregory and introduced him to the many guests gathered to meet him. The Town Crier, Tim Keith, welcomed Mr Gregory to Parkes.
The Master of Ceremonies, Michael Greenwood introduced the Mayor, Cr Robert Wilson, and Deputy Mayor, Cr Ken Keith.
Dr Neal Newman and Mr Gregory were presented with gifts from the people of Parkes as mementos of their visit.
Mr Gregory addressed the people of Parkes and thanked them for the way they have supported both the Parkes Telescope and NASA throughout the years. He described the many challenges facing NASA at the moment and the great task it has to meet the US President's space initiative of returning to the Moon and going on to Mars.
Mr Gregory and Mr Newman presented the people of Parkes a montage of images, "In recognition of the historic bond that has formed between NASA and the people of Parkes, in their common pursuit of science and discovery".
Mr Gregory also met some of the former staff of the Parkes Observatory and PMG who were instrumental in supporting the historic Apollo 11 mission.
Left Image (L-R): Dr David Cooke and Ben Lam and Mr Gregory.
Right Image (L-R): David Cooke, Ben Lam, Mr Gregory, Gordon Bennet (PMG) and Neil "Fox" Mason.