Sunday, August 06, 2006

Bet They Get ESPN HD

So, we're driving along on our way to Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve, when we descend into a broad valley. More of a bowl, actually, with mountains circling on all sides.

It turns out that the geography is ideal for blocking terrestrial electromagnetic interference. Not to mention that we're about 15 miles southeast of Canberra, which is itself kind of in the middle of nowhere.

A perfect location for this:

It's the Canberra Deep Space Communication Center, a NASA facility which receives satellite and spacecraft communications from, well, all over the solar system. This is where the Apollo 11 moon landing video came in. The main dish is 70 meters (230 feet) in diameter, and there are three smaller antennas ranging from 26-34 meters feet across. While we were there, one of hte smaller dishes was getting data from the Chandra X-Ray Observatory, for which my cousin Nancy was the launch manager.

Here's a satellite picture of the facility.


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