Earlier this week I visited NASA’s Canberra Deep Space Communication Complex (CDSCC) located at Tidbinbilla, 40min drive from Canberra in the Australian Capitol Territory (ACT). CDSCC’s radio telescopes provide continuous radio contact with spacecraft exploring the Solar System and beyond such as Cassini (Saturn), twin Exploration Rovers (Mars), Messenger spacecraft (Mercury), New Horizons spacecraft (Pluto) and Voyager 1 and 2, which have been in space for over 30 years.
The radio telescopes at the Canberra Deep Space Communication Complex are part of 3 stations in NASA’s Deep Space Network, the other two are located in Madrid (Spain) and Goldstone (USA). Tidbinbilla is operated by the CSIRO on behalf of NASA.
The CDSCC Visitors centre has informative displays that will enthrall space fans young and old. The attached Moon Rock Café has a great view of one of the telescopes and serves good quality well priced food and drinks. I couldn’t resist buying a navy blue NASA baseball cap from the Gift Shop – a bargain at $15.50.
To drive to the CDSCC from the centre of Canberra follow the signs for Tourist Drive 5 (TD5). GPS Users: Enter into your nav.system: Discovery Drive, Paddys River District or coordinates: -35.39972,148.97086.
Glen Nagle (Education and Public Outreach Manager for CDSCC pictured above) gave my friend Nick Hodge and I a tour of the facility so I had background information for an article about the CDSCC for GEARE magazine. That article will only have space for some of the photos I took so here is a selection of the most interesting photos. You can view all of my Canberra Deep Space Communication Complex photos at Flickr.