NASA DSN Canberra celebrates 50 years this year @CanberraDSN https://twitter.com/CanberraDSN
Australia is host to 1 of 3 listening posts for NASA’s deep space network http://deepspace.jpl.nasa.gov/
Deep Space Network 46 #DSS46
Canberra NASA listening post is most famous for their retired antenna deep space network 46. This antenna received the first images of Neil Armstrong walking on the moon. This retired antenna started life 1965 at Honeysuckle Creek Tracking Station for the Apollo missions. Its small dish X Y configuration makes it ideal for tracking near earth spacecraft and when in commission moved rapidly.
Deep Space Network 34 #DSS34
Deep Space Network 34 can be maintained while tracking transmission and reception equipment was built underground in 1997 when it was constructed.
Deep Space Network 33 #DSS33
This is the largest steerable parabolic antenna in the southern hemisphere and uses X, S ,L K, Ku bands. Constructed between 1969 and 1973, it rotates on a film of oil approx. 0.17m and weighs 3000 tonnes.
A short history of Deep Space Network
The human fascination with the world around them has prompted the exploration of our planet, from climbing the highest mountains, to plunging the greatest oceans depths. Equally, our fascination with the universe around us has taken humanity from the relatively safe confines of the Earth’s biosphere into the black, unforgiving vacuum of space. The space race began on the 4th October 1957, when the former Soviet Union launched a rocket carrying a tiny 83.6kg aluminium sphere named Sputnik-1 into Earth orbit. For the first time an object built on Earth was in space – the first artificial satellite. On 2nd January 1959, the Soviet Union launched the Luna 1 spacecraft, followed on the 3rd of March by the United States with the launch of Pioneer 4. Escaping the Earth’s gravitational pull, they reached the Moon, passing above its surface before eventually going into an orbit around the Sun. These two craft heralded the advent of interplanetary travel. The scientific community could now seriously begin looking towards the Moon and the planets as objects of exploration. To accomplish this, a communications network was needed that could receive and transmit information and instructions between the spacecraft and controllers back on Earth. Early attempts by the US Army to launch robotic spacecraft were supported through a series of ground stations set up in California, Nigeria, and Singapore, that were managed by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. In December 1958, JPL was transferred from the US Army to the newly formed NASA, and a decision was made to form a more comprehensive arrangement of receiving stations, the Deep Space Network. These stations would be responsible for the tracking and relay of information between mission operations centres at JPL and their interplanetary spacecraft.