Deep Space Station 36 is about to start construction (far left) while DSS35 (top centre) enters the last phase of construction.

Deep Space Station 36 Construction to Begin

The second of our new antennas is about to grow
Monday 11 November 2013
While work continues on Deep Space Station 35 (DSS35), the first of the new 34 metre dishes being built at the Canberra Deep Space Communication Complex (CDSCC) located at Tidbinbilla, work on the second beam waveguide dish to be known as Deep Space Station 36 (DSS36) is about to begin.

Back in late 2010 and early 2011, when construction began on DSS35, it was planned that the excavation works for both of the new 34 metre, beam waveguide antennas would be done simultaneously. This would allow for general groundworks and initial infrastructure to be put in place for both of the new dishes, saving time later in the construction process.

THE HOLE AWAITS: Groundworks for DSS36 have been on hold while construction of DSS35 continues.

Construction commenced on the DSS35 base pedestal structure in early 2011, leaving the excavation for DSS36 idle over the past 2.5 years. That's all about to change however, with the inital work on the base pedestal for this second dish to get underway later this month.

The design of the beam waveguide antenna means that the key systems of receivers and transmitters are housed in an underground concrete cylinder that's about two-storeys high (or in this case, deep). Over the next few months, the excavation area will be cleaned up and readied for the pouring of a concrete levelling layer. The layer will then be topped by nearly a metre thick concrete 'floor' for the cylinder that will eventually contain the antenna's electronic systems.

As with DSS35's construction, webcams will enable the public to watch the new dish as it 'grows' over the next three years. The pedestal works will take about a year to complete, including back filling the underground section and preparing the above ground surface area for construction of the actual antenna and dish components.

Currently two web cameras are focussed on the new construction area and can be sourced through the following links or by clicking the pictures immediately above and below. Webcam A and B

DISH WATCH: Webcams will allow viewers to watch the DSS36 antenna grow over the next three years.

Deep Space Station 35 Update
DSS35 has less than a year to go before it is planned to come online for space tracking. Much of the work to be done now will be 'inside' the base pedestal. The antenna will soon be handed over from the construction contractors and be put in the hands of CDSCC's engineers and technicians for the installation of the antenna's transmitter and receiver systems. In parallel, antenna pointing calibration will continue and then, under the current schedule, is expected to come into operational service in late 2014.

Meanwhile, above ground, the concrete apron under the dish and road leading up to the antenna is being completed. Webcams will continue to watch DSS35 over most of this final phase before possibly being moved to watch the works on DSS36. DSS35 Webcams A and B plus linked on the images below.

ON THE SURFACE: The concrete hard deck is being laid around the antenna base. The last stage of above ground works.

DSS35: Much of the antenna structure is completed, with the serious work of electronics being installed just beginning.

You can also follow the progress of the antenna construction through CDSCC's Twitter feed: @CanberraDSN

The Canberra Deep Space Communication Complex is managed in Australia by the CSIRO on behalf of NASA's Deep Space Network. It is one of three stations worldwide, the others located near Madrid (Spain) and Goldstone, California (USA).

Deep Space Station 36 (DSS36) is a new antenna being built at the Canberra Deep Space Communication Complex (CDSCC) at Tidbinbilla, 35kms southwest of Canberra.

DSS36 is a Beam Wave Guide (BWG) design, meaning that the antenna has its transmission and receiving equipment located in an underground structure that forms the base pedestal on top of which the main antenna structure and dish are supported.

The pedestal design, which is already used in one of the current 34-metre antennas currently located at CDSCC (DSS34) allows for easier and safer access to the antennas electronic systems which would otherwise be inside the antenna structure.

Prime Applications
Over the next 10-15 years the planets align in such a way that the Southern Hemisphere will have the best overall view of the existing spacecraft spread out across the Solar System.

DSS36 will expand the capabilities of CDSCC providing an additional antenna aperture to support these missions, plus the planned and expected growth in deep space missions being launched over the next decade. CDSCC already supports over three dozen individual robotic spacecraft.

DSS36 Quick Statistics
Name: Deep Space Station 36 (DSS36)
Type: 34-metre Beam Wave Guide
Size: 34-metre diameter 'dish'
35-metres height (from ground level to top of antenna in upright 'stow' position
10-metres underground base pedestal structure.

Construction Schedule
Ground breaking: Early 2011
Start Construction: November 2013
Completion: Late 2016

Other CDSCC Stories
Nov 2011 - Tweetup Party
April 2012 -
NASA Boss Visits CDSCC
Aug 2012 -
MSL Curiosity Landing
Jan 2013 -
DSS35 Webcams
April 2013 -
DSS43 40th Anniversary
Aug 2013 -
2013 Space Open Day
Sept 2013 -
DSS35 Construction
Nov 2013 - DSS36 Construction

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