March 2014 Archives

Space Communications Antenna Supported Early NASA Missions

Editor's note: DSS 41 at Woomera was one of the three locations where all Lunar Orbiter Imagery was received on Earth between 1966-1967

This 26 meter (85 foot) antenna operated in Woomera (Island Lagoon), Australia at Deep Space Station (DSS) 41, established in August 1960. The Island Lagoon site was the first deep space station to be established outside the United States and the first Australian antenna NASA built.

The station was operated by the Australian Department of Supply and helped support the Ranger and early Mariner missions, as well as communications from the Deep Space Network (DSN) complex in Goldstone, California via a moon bounce. Woomera's antenna ceased operations in 1972.

Today, the Deep Space Network -- consisting of three sites in Goldstone, California; Madrid, Spain; and Canberra, Australia -- supports space communications for NASA and non-NASA missions that explore the furthest points of our solar system. Each complex currently has a 70 meter (230 foot) antenna, one 34 meter (111 foot) High Efficiency (HEF) antenna, and one or more 34 meter Beam Wave Guide (BWG) antenna. The Deep Space Network is operated 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days per year. To support future mission needs, construction is currently underway in Canberra, Australia to add two new 34 meter BWG antennas, Deep Space Station 35 (DSS-35) and DSS-36 by 2018.

Larger image Image Credit: NASA

International Cometary Explorer (ISEE-3) Beacon Signal Detected

"On March 1st and 2nd, 2014 radio amateurs were able to detect the beacon signal from the retired NASA deep space probe ICE (International Cometary Explorer) at the Bochum Observatory (Germany). After some changes to the ground equipment and aligning the receive antenna to the predicted position in the sky, the beacon signal could positively be identified due to its frequency, the position in the sky and the frequency shift due to the radial velocity (Doppler shift). For this detection the 20m radio telescope from the Bochum Observatory was used. In 2003, AMSAT-DL converted this former industrial monument into a fully functional groundstation for deep space probes. Since 2009 the facility is being used by volunteers almost full time as ground receive station for data from the STEREO mission with its two spaceprobes monitoring the sun from different viewing angles."

- More at AMSAT-DL and Bochum Observatory receive signal from retired NASA spacecraft

- NASA Could Try To Contact ISEE-3/ICE - But It Won't, earlier post

Lunar Orbiter Image Recovery Project (LOIRP) Status 6 March 2014

Dennis Wingo Status, morning of Thursday March 6th 2014

Things are moving well. I am researching the Planetary Data Systems submittal and Austin is still configuring computers and processing frame lets. There is going to be some incredibly interesting images coming soon and they have the resolution that can be turned into big posters.

What would y'all think if we did a rocket hub to provide some of these posters to interested folks as a fund raiser?

LOIRP
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