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Friday, 26 February 2010 00:32

Australia continues teamwork with NASA

The U.S. space agency NASA announced on Thursday, February 25, 2010, that it will build two new space-tracking dishes at the Canberra Deep Space Communications Complex in Australia.

The construction of two new space-tracking antenna dishes at the Canberra Deep Space Communications Complex (CDSCC), which is located south of the Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve, will occur over the next six years.

In fact, construction has already started on a 34-meter dish called a "beam-waveguide" (BWG) antenna dish.

Besides the already announced construction of this and the other BWG dish, another two dishes are also in the planning stage.

Dr. Charles Elachi, director of the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) and vice president of the California Institute of Technology (CalTech), commented on the unique space-based relationship between the two countries.

Dr. Elachi stated, "We felt that the friendly relationship between our two countries and the scientific capability in Australia made it a no-brainer.' [ABCNews.net.au: 'NASA to boost Australian bases']

Elachi added, "Australia is world-renowned in the field of radio astronomy. You have some of the best scientists and engineers in the world."

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The teamwork between Australia and the United States will also benefit the U.S.

Dr. Elachi comments: "We have been developing techniques in the US to use satellites to monitor where hot places are, so we can help citizens move away from the [fire] hazard and tell firefighters where to go despite all the smoke."

The Canberra Deep Space Communications Complex (CDSCC) is a ground station located at Tidbinbila, which is along the Paddys River, just over 50 kilometers (30 miles) from Canberra in the Australian Capital Territory.

In Australia, the CDSCC complex is often called by the name the Tidbinbilla Deep Space Tracking Station.

For additional information on the fifty-year-plus relationship between Australia and the United States with respect to space exploration, please read the February 25, 2010 Sydney Morning Herald article 'Australia, US celebrate space milestone.'

The article states in part: "On Thursday, the two nations celebrated 50 years of a fruitful working relationship, culminating in some of the world's most significant space moments."

And, "Science Minister Kim Carr and US Ambassador Jeffrey Bleich paid tribute to the partnership in Canberra, where they signed a new agreement extending their co-operation, hopefully for another 50 years."

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