Deep Space Station 45 watches the skies as the construction of Deep Space Station 35 continues in the foreground. Photo: CDSCC

Keep an Eye on Space Exploration's Giant Ears

Webcams give you a bird's eye view on NASA's new deep space dishes
Wednesday, 14th December 2011
New webcams have been installed at the CSIRO operated Canberra Deep Space Communication Complex (CDSCC) at Tidbinbilla and are providing a real time view of new spacecraft tracking antennas currently being built by NASA.

The webcams, accessible here
WEBCAM-1 and WEBCAM-2; are currently pointing at the foundation of the first new antenna being built, which will be known as Deep Space Station 35 (DSS35).

Both DSS35 and DSS36 (the other new antenna to be built) will be 'dishes' 34-metres in diameter and will able to transmit and receive across a wide range of radio frequencies for deep space communication with interplanetary robotic spacecraft. The new antennas will support the expected growth of deep space missions being launched over the next decade.

The webcams for Deep Space Station 35 are updated approximately every 30 seconds in daylight hours only. Photo: CDSCC

The antennas will further expand the CDSCC's capabilities as one of three global Deep Space Network stations responsible for communicating with spacecraft from NASA and other space agencies. The other two stations are the Madrid Deep Space Communications Complex (Spain) and the Goldstone Deep Space Communications Complex in the US.

The first antenna (DSS35) is due for completion in late 2014 with the second antenna (DSS36) expected to be completed in 2016.

For fans of webcams and antenna construction, it's also possible to follow the construction of CSIRO's Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder (ASKAP) telescope in the Mid West of Western Australia.
click here to check out the latest developments at any time!

Deep Space Station 35 (DSS35) is a new antenna to be built at the Canberra Deep Space Communication Complex (CDSCC) at Tidbinbilla, 35kms southwest of Canberra.

DSS35 will be 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.

DSS35 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.

DSS35 Quick Statistics

Name: Deep Space Station 35 (DSS35)
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

Groundbreaking: 25 February 2010
Start Construction: September 2010
Completion: September 2014

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Public Relations Office: Glen Nagle / Leanne George