Canberra Deep Space Communications Complex

Canberra Deep Space Communications Complex

Canberra Deep Space Communication Complex
Canberra Deep Space Communication Complex (CDSCC)
Organization CSIRO / JPL
Location Tidbinbilla,
Australian Capital Territory
Coordinates
Established March 1965
Website
cdscc.org
Telescopes


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 20 km from 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 Sir Robert Menzies.

The station is separated from Canberra by the Murrumbidgee River, but most notably by the Coolamon Ridge and Urambi Hills, but mainly by Bullen Range, that help shield the city's radio frequency (RF) noise from the dishes. Located nearby is the Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve.

The CSIRO manages most of NASA's activities in Australia.

In February 2010 CSIRO took over direct management of the site with the establishment of CASS (CSIRO Astronomy and Space Science). Previous to this CDSCC had been managed by external sub-contractor organisations, such as Raytheon Australia from 2003-2010.

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.

History

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 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.