In April 2013, Deep Space Station 43 marks its 40th anniversary
of space communications operations. Photo: CDSCC
SORRY - ALL
PUBLIC TOURS ARE NOW BOOKED OUT!
Space Station 43 - Taking Canberra from the Bush to the Stars
of DSS43's official opening - Saturday, 13th April, 2013
Thursday 28 February 2013
13th of April 1973, then Prime Minister of Australia, Gough Whitlam,
took a 45-minute drive from (Old) Parliament House in Canberra
and out to the beautiful bushland setting of the Tidbinbilla
in the rolling valleys and farmland surrounded by grazing sheep
and cattle were the giant white antenna dishes of the Canberra
Deep Space Communication Complex (CDSCC). Dominating the valley
was the newly completed, massive 64-metre wide, dish-like antenna
called Deep Space Station 43 (DSS43).
Gough Whitlam was there to officially
open the new dish that had taken three years to construct. As
wide as the Parkes Radio Telescope but taller and heavier, DSS43
could not only receive radio signals but also transmit. Designed
to send commands to spacecraft exploring distant planets and
receive their data, process and relay it back to scientists all
over the world.
by dignataries and station staff, and standing alongside the
NASA Administrator, James Fletcher, Prime Minister Whitlam officially
threw the switch that ushered in a new era in space exploration
for Australia and the world - taking Canberra from the bush to
On Saturday 13th April 2013, DSS43 will mark 40 years of service
and deep space operations.
this milestone, the Canberra Deep Space Communication Complex
will host a day featuring a photo exhibition, talks and presentations
on the antenna and a series of booked tours to the antenna which
will be available to the public.
Details on the
anniversary event and how to book for tours appear at right >>
for the future
was originally constructed as a 64-metre dish. It was expanded
to its present 70-metre diameter in the late 1980s to accommodate
the Voyager missions. At this size, DSS43 is the largest steerable
antenna dish in the Southern Hemisphere.
years, as technology changed in transmitter and receiver systems,
the antenna has been upgraded several times to provide even greater
sensitivity and range of capabilities.
DSS43 is the largest steerable antenna dish in the southern hemisphere.
2012, work commenced on replacing the concrete which supports
the antennas rotating structure. This concrete sits underneath
a metal plate that runs the entire circumference of the antenna
pedestal and keeps the 4,000 tonne moving structure horizontal,
to better than hair-width tolerances.
a total 6-month downtime for the antenna, there will also be
upgrades to some of its electrical systems and therell
even be the chance to repaint the main dish surface.
DSS43 will re-enter deep space communication service in great
shape and looking good for maybe another few decades of exploring
the solar system and beyond.
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).