116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
On Tuesday, May 4, at 11 a.m., the Marion-East Cedar Rapids Rotary Club will dedicate its “Echo Hill Station” Lowe Park Art Walk project. The public is welcome.
The role of our local communities in the exploration of space is often underappreciated. Our friends, neighbors and families as part of outstanding companies and educational institutions led the way in the development of space communications and the understanding of our universe. With the 50th Anniversary of the Marion-East Cedar Rapids Rotary Club and humanity’s first steps on the moon, the club, inspired by the Arthur A. Collins Legacy Association, set out to recognize those achievements as well as to inspire youth to explore careers in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math by developing a fun interactive art project on the Lowe Park Art Walk.
The project commemorates the historic first transmission of an image by Collins Radio by bouncing a signal off the orbiting Echo Satellite from the Echo Hill Station, near Lowe Park, to the Collins’ facility in Richardson, Texas, on Aug. 20, 1960. This accomplishment led to the future ability to communicate with and track manned space flights, including the moon landing, as well as the development of deep space satellites and GPS. Citizens of our local communities provided the knowledge and technical skills to accomplish these advances.
The Rotary Club raised funds providing three, 8-foot granite tablets telling the history, science and legacy of those who made it possible.
There are also two, 8-foot diameter parabolic dishes, 100 feet apart. The 100 feet represents the diameter of the Echo satellite. A person can whisper into one dish and another person can hear it at the other dish.
The third piece of the interactive art project is a replica of the Echo Satellite. It is a 6-foot diameter stainless steel globe located near the dishes.
This event coincides with the release of the Arthur A. Collins Legacy Association’s third documentary film, “Steps to the Moon,” on May 5 at Collins Road Theatres. In the film, hear Arthur Collins and his engineers describe the historic moments in communication research that resulted in Collins radios and systems accompanying every Mercury, Gemini and Apollo mission.
Through these events, the Rotary wants to thank those who came before and ignite a curiosity in a young person to consider a STEM career. Together, we can make sure this piece of our history is not lost.