Canberra Deep Space Communication Complex
The Canberra Deep Space Communication Complex (CDSCC) is a
ground stationthat is located in Australiaat Tidbinbillain a valley of the Murrumbidgee River, about half an hour's drive out of Canberrain the Australian Capital Territory. The complex is part of the Deep Space Networkrun by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL). It is commonly referred to as the "Tidbinbilla Deep Space Tracking Station" and was officially opened on 19 March 1965by the then Prime Minister of AustraliaSir Robert Menzies.
The station is separated from Canberra by the Murrumbidgee River, but most notably by the Coolamon Ridge and Urambi Hills that help shield the city's
radio frequency(RF) noise from the dishes. Located nearby is the Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve.
CSIROmanages most of NASA's activities in Australia. Since March 2003, RaytheonAustralia has managed the CDSCC on behalf of the CSIRO and NASA.
The complex is one of just three in the world. The other two are the
Madrid Deep Space Communication Complexlocated in Spainand the Goldstone Deep Space Communications Complexin the United States.
During the mid 1960s NASA built three
tracking stations in the Australian Capital Territory.
*The Tidbinbilla Tracking Station (now known as CDSCC) was opened in
1965and is the only NASA tracking station in Australia still in operation. During the Apollo program, Tidbinbilla was used for tracking the Apollo Lunar Module.
Orroral Valley Tracking Stationwas opened in May 1965in what is now part of Namadgi National Park. Its role was orbiting satellite support, although it also supported the Apollo-Soyuz Test Projectin 1975. It was closed in 1985.
Honeysuckle Creek Tracking Stationopened in 1967and was built primarily to support the Apollo moon missions, mainly communications with the Apollo Command Module. After the cancellation of the Apollo Project the station supported Skylabuntil its re-entry in 1979when the station joined the Deep Space Networkin support of the Viking and Voyager projects. 1981saw the closure of the station and its 26 m antenna was moved to CDSCC to become known as Deep Space Station 46.
As of October
2005the Station has four large antennas in use. The CDSCC also uses the Parkes radio telescopein central New South Walesat busy times to receive data from spacecraft.
*DSS-34 is a 34 m dish utilising a wave guide to place the receiving and transmitting hardware underground rather than on top of the dish. It is the most recent antenna at CDSCC, being built in
*DSS-43 is a 70 m dish constructed in
1976and extended in 1987. It is the largest steerable parabolic antennain the Southern Hemisphere.
*DSS-45 is a 34 m dish built in
*DSS-46 is a 26 m dish. It was moved in
1981from Honeysuckle Creek, where it was built in 1967.
*DSS-49 is the designation of the 64 m dish at Parkes.
* [http://www.cdscc.nasa.gov/ Official CDSCC Webpage]
* [http://www.atnf.csiro.au/observers/tidbinbilla/ Official CSIRO pages]
* [http://www.tidbinbilla.net/ Tidbinbilla Tracking Station tribute site]
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