Goonhilly, we have a problem...

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The Independent Online

Fifty years ago, Arthur, the oldest satellite at Cornwall's Goonhilly Down Satellite Station, received the world's first transatlantic television broadcast.

Now, after years of decline, the telecommunications site has been launched into a new technological frontier: space exploration. Part of the Goonhilly complex, which has been threatened with demolition since its owners BT closed most operations at the site in 2008, will be sold to a consortium including Oxford University, the UK Space Agency and the International Space Innovation Centre.

The project, which is the brain child of satellite engineer Ian Jones, will create a new hub for space communications in the UK. "Goonhilly is one of those amazing places that inspire people and has a pioneering heritage in international communications," Mr Jones said. "Now we have plans to go one stage further and to use the antennas at Goonhilly to support space science missions to the Moon, Mars and beyond."

The site will be used in a pioneering £1.5bn international project – the Square Kilometre Array – to link the world's satellites.