It was the highlight of Mike Dinn's career, but at the time of the first moon landing 50 years ago this month the deputy station director at Honeysuckle Creek was diligently focused on getting the best quality sound, vision and data back from the moon.
This week, Mr Dinn was reunited with a satellite tracking console similar to the ones used at the station, which played a key role in the landing.
At 12.56pm on July 21, 1969, the station picked up the vision of Neil Armstrong's one small step on to the surface of the moon, which was seen by 600 million people around the world.
The console, from Orroral Valley tracking station, which tracked earth-orbiting satellites and later space shuttle missions from the ACT until it was decommissioned in 1985, comes from an analog era. "The beauty of analog is the ability to be flexible," Mr Dinn said.
Where computers rely on what's been programmed into them, operators working analog equipment could adapt to what was happening in front of them, he said. "Some people were skilled at operations. It had nothing to do with intelligence.
"It required someone who was self-sufficient, who knew where they fitted and anticipated problems and could change configuration without detailed direction and then report and respond to a request," Mr Dinn said.
"Some could do that naturally, some couldn't."
He said the easy part of tracking was when all the equipment worked correctly.
"The art became when things played up, which they did. Detect the fault and find out what to do about it," he said
The console is part of an exhibition at the National Museum which opens on Saturday, commemorating 50 years since the historic landing. The exhibit features a fragment of rock brought back from the surface of the moon in 1972, ephemera and photographs from the time and equipment from the Honeysuckle Creek tracking station, including the antenna's tracking ball.
A visitor's book from the station includes then-prime minister John Gorton's signature on the day of his visit to the station - just two hours after the lunar module had landed on the moon.
Mr Dinn said the relationship between NASA and Canberra was strong at the time of the moon landings, and the exhibit was evidence of the co-operation.
The museum's digital programs co-ordinator, Robert Bunzli, said a panel discussion at the museum on July 19 would bring together four trackers from the station and offer a rare chance to hear what it was like.
"The panel will discuss how this central role in tracking Apollo and relaying the video feed came about, the extraordinary challenges the team faced, including technical hurdles and last minute changes," he said.