From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
70m telescope at the Canberra Deep Space Communication
Canberra Deep Space Communication Complex
Tidbinbilla Locality Map, the site is marked with the red
The Canberra Deep Space Communication Complex
(CDSCC) is a ground station that
is located in Australia
at Tidbinbilla in the Paddys River (a
tributory of the Cotter River) valley, about half an hour's drive
out of Canberra in the Australian Capital
Territory. The complex is part of the Deep Space
Network run 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
1965 by the then Prime Minister of Australia
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
manages most of NASA's activities in Australia. Since March 2003, Raytheon Australia 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 Complex located in Spain and the Goldstone Deep
Space Communications Complex in the United States.
During the mid 1960s NASA built three tracking stations in the Australian Capital
- The Tidbinbilla Tracking Station (now known as CDSCC) was
opened in 1965 and is the only
NASA tracking station in Australia still in operation. During the
Apollo program, Tidbinbilla was used for
tracking the Apollo Lunar Module.
- Honeysuckle Creek
Tracking Station opened in 1967 and 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 Skylab until its re-entry in 1979 when the station joined the Deep Space
Network in support of the Viking and Voyager projects. 1981 saw 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 2005 the Station
has four large antennas in use. The CDSCC also uses the Parkes radio telescope in central New South Wales
at busy times to receive data from spacecraft. There are plans to build two
additional 34 m beam-waveguide (BWG) antennas by 2013.
- 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 1976 and extended in 1987. It is the largest steerable parabolic
antenna in the Southern Hemisphere.
- DSS-45 is a 34 m dish built in 1986.
- DSS-46 is a 26 m dish. It was moved in 1984 from Honeysuckle Creek, where it was built in
1967. It is scheduled to be
decommissioned in late 2009.
- DSS-49 is the designation of the 64 m dish at Parkes.
The station's collimation tower is located
approximately 3 km to the north-west, on Black Hill.
Coordinates: 35°24′05″S 148°58′54″E / 35.40139°S