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New Mexico Gallery

Searching for a VLA Site, February 1966

The search for a site for the VLA began in the mid-1960s with visits by members of the VLA Project team to a number of potential locations in the southwestern U.S. This photo was taken in February 1966 on the Plains of St. Augustin, in the general area of the future intersection of the array arms. On the left is Cam Wade, and on the right is Max Small, both from NRAO. In the center is Robert Weber, a geologist with the NM Bureau of Mines in Socorro, who was very knowledgeable about the geology of the Plains of San Augustin, and was hugely helpful to the VLA project. Around his neck, Wade has the Finnish forester's compass that he used to check out all the potential VLA sites, and to do the initial layout for the array. Caption information was provided by Cam Wade, who says the photo was probably taken by George Swenson using Max Small's camera. (GB66-02826_vla-site-search-feb1966.jpg)
Searching for a VLA Site, February 1966
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Hein's Train, March 1979

Hein’s Trein, the first VLA antenna transporter, named for NRAO Associate Director Hein Hvatum. (heinstrein.jpg)
Hein's Train, March 1979
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Ron Harris, 1975

Ron Harris works on the VLA correlator, January 1975. (75-01-12.jpg)
Ron Harris, 1975
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VLA in Motion, September 1980

A VLA antenna crosses Rt. 66 during a configuration change. (Archive18412-bright.jpg)
VLA in Motion, September 1980
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Barry Clark, 1980

In 1980, Barry Clark is brought to his knees by the ModComp computer. (clark-modcomp-nov80-master-vc175.jpg)
Barry Clark, 1980
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Cricket in Socorro, November 1980

The winning cricket team, Socorro, November 1980. Front row: Peter Napier, Chris Salter, Dave Gibson, Gareth Hunt [captain]. Back row: Carl Bignell (holding Celeste and John Bignell), Bill Randolph, Rosalie Ewald, Tim Cornwell, Eva Jean Rigby, Brook Ekers, Eric Russell, Clair Rigby. The VLA team (pictured) beat the Socorro team. Players represented the USA, Jamaica, India, England, Holland, New Zealand, and Canada. Writing in the January 1981 Observer (v.22#1), Chris Salter said, "Passers by could be forgiven for imagining that mystical rites were being performed on the playing fields of New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology on Saturday November 8th [1980]. The fact of the matter is that the slow perambulations and weird cavortings of fourteen white clad figures did not mark a frightening outbreak of alien worship but the progress of the first Socorro/VLA cricket match." (cricket-Socorro-8nov1980.jpg)
Cricket in Socorro, November 1980
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Preparations for Tracking Voyager, November 1985

The VLA was used with Jet Propulsion Laboratory’s Deep Space Network in Goldstone CA to track NASA’s Voyager 2 encounter with Neptune in 1989. NRAO began planning and preparations in 1982, and test phased array observing on Voyager and planets began several years before the encounter as more antennas became outfitted for X-band. NRAO devoted 340 hours of VLA observing time to system tests and reception of Voyager's telemetry, and there were 40 scheduled telemetry passes from 26 April through 28 September 1989. This November 1985 sketch by Socorro's Paul Harden shows Bill Brundage (NRAO) and Ron Logan (JPL) with the test instrument setup at the VLA. (tracking-Voyager-Nov1985-Harding-sketch.jpg)
Preparations for Tracking Voyager, November 1985
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AOC Construction, 1988

In 1988 the AOC construction nears completion. (AOC-construction-30.jpg)
AOC Construction, 1988
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VLA 20th Anniversary, 2000

At the VLA 20th anniversary celebration, May 2000. Paul Vanden Bout, Jack Campbell, Jack Lancaster (who was VLA Project Manager), Ron Ekers (who was first NM Site Director), Miller Goss, Dick Sramek. (vla20th-006.jpg)
VLA 20th Anniversary, 2000
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NRAO 50th Anniversary, 2007

All sites joined for a simultaneous videocast of the 14 June 2007 celebration of NRAO’s 50th anniversary. This cake was for the party at the VLA site. (EPSN0027.jpg)
NRAO 50th Anniversary, 2007
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