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On Walkabout At: The NASA Deep Space Communication Complex

An interesting site I found worth checking out in the Canberra area was the NASA Deep Space Communication Complex located about an hour outside the city in the absolute middle of no where:


The drive out to the site was quite pleasant seeing the Great Dividing Range high country grazing areas filled with herds of sheep and a few cows:



It was also interesting to see the where the 2002 bush fires raged at as well. Thousands of square miles of forest was burned down during those bush fires and are slowly but surely recovering. The destruction from these bushfires is easily the worst I have seen in Australia:



The space center is composed of a number of NASA’s deep space antennas including the largest one pictured above and has a museum explaining NASA’s various satellite achievements and even has a moon rock on display, best of all admission is free. So not to bad of way to spend an afternoon:


NASA uses the antennas at the site to communicate with the various satellites in space operated by NASA. NASA needs three antennas in order to capture data being sent from the satellite in order to create the three dimensional trajectory of where the satellite is at. The three sites are located rather equidistant from each other in America, Spain, and Australia. This site recently played a key role during the high profile Cassini mission that landed the probe on Saturn’s moon of Titan.


Not to many visitors were at the site when I visited which isn’t surprising considering how far out of the way this place is, but the museum keeper says they do a lot of educational programs for nearby schools that come to the site for field trips. I spent a couple of hours checking out the museum and had lunch my wife there before taking off.

The coolest thing inside the museum to check out is the moon rock from the July 1969 Apollo 11 mission:



I had plenty of time on my hands in Canberra, but a drive out to the site isn’t worth it for someone who has only limited time in Canberra. If you have the time, the site is worth checking out and can easily spend a half a day or more checking out the site and driving through the surrounding country side.


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