Ashish Soni makes sure we can talk to and hear spacecraft at the Canberra Deep Space Communication Complex

TTC&M Engineer: Ashish Soni
Telemetry, Tracking, Command & Monitoring

What is your role at CDSCC?
My primary role here at Canberra Deep Space Communications Complex is to provide engineering support for systems used in telemetry tracking, commanding and monitoring of various NASA spacecraft, and thus to ensure that the signals we transmit and receive are of good quality and can be easily extracted from various kinds of interferences in the space and earth's atmosphere.

What experience did you have to get the job?
Prior to working here at Canberra Deep Space Communications Complex, I completed my Bachelor's in Telecommunication Engineering from India and Master's in RF Systems Engineering from University of South Australia.

During my Master's degree I completed my thesis on Satellite Communications and also gained industry experience in this field during the same time.

How long have you been working here?
I started working in Feb 2007, and since then every year has been a great learning experience.

What's the most important or amazing thing you have been a part of at CDSCC?
The most amazing thing for me so far has been the opportunity to work in the field, where diverse technical knowledge and skill set is required. To be successful one must have a very broad and in-depth understanding of areas like RF communications, digital signal processing, software engineering and analytical skill.

As the science grows and more missions are launched, there is always going to be a demand for increasing data rates between the spacecrafts and the DSN earth stations, which means that the technology is always changing.

What's the best thing about working at CDSCC?
Best thing about working at CDSCC is to be a part of an organisation which is working towards betterment of humanity in general by promoting science and education.

More Staff Profiles
+ Operations Supervisor: Richard Stephenson
+ Electronics Technician: Nigel Chauncy
+ Link Control Operator: Tamsin McInerney

The Tidbinbilla Team
CDSCC employs approximately 90 full- and part-time staff members. The personnel at CDSCC are Australian citizens, but come from different places around the world.

What do they do?
There are five major sections at CDSCC which are responsible for operation of the facility 24-hours a day, 7-days a week. Their jobs range from administration, logistics and stores, grounds maintenance, engineers and technicians, building services and allied trades, education, training, and spacecraft communication.

Operations (OPS) staff work in the main antenna control centre. Four teams work on a rotating 12-hour shift, ensuring that the antennas are operational and that spacecraft tracking and communication is being maintained. OPS members are technicians with expertise in spacecraft communication, data analysis, antenna operation and radio frequencies.

Systems Engineering (SE) employs engineers and technicians to maintain all of the electronics, and computer hardware and software systems at CDSCC. SE teams are responsible for the antenna transmitters and receivers, timing systems, signal processors, antenna calibration, plus internal/external communication links.

Antenna and Site Facilities (ASF) looks after the overall maintenance and operational readiness of the mechanical and structural areas of the Complex. ASF staff range from mechanics, electricians, engineers and antenna maintenance crews. They ensure that antennas are always
working in peak condition, power systems are online and that all buildings, grounds and related services are maintained.

Support Services Group (SSG)
performs the vital administrative tasks needed to ensure daily operation. BMG staff provide services such as financial management, logistics and stores, documentation and catering.

Human Resources (HR)
provides services including: recruitment, leadership and staff training and development, EEO, OHS&E, information and records management and legislative compliance.

Public Relations (PR) look after all of the education and outreach services provided by CDSCC to the public and media. PR staff manage the Visitor Centre, providing information to 70,000 visitors a year including thousands of school children on excursions.

CDSCC also employs a number of contractors who provide a variety of services including operation of the Moon Rock Café, site security and cleaning.

How does CDSCC help the community?
Apart from the vital communication link provided by CDSCC to the knowledge gained through the exploration of space the Complex also contributes in direct ways to the local and national community.

We care for the local environment through power management, recycling of water and sewerage, and emissions management. We contribute financially through local employment, paying for services (eg:
power), and through tourism.

We also educate the next generation of space explorers, scientists and engineers.

Webmaster: Glen Nagle
Public Relations Office: Glen Nagle / Korinne McDonnell