New Norcia Station

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New Norcia Station antenna undergoing maintenance
The main mirror, S-band mirror and S-band feed horn inside NNO-1.

New Norcia Station (also known as NNO) is an ESTRACK Earth station in Australia for communication with spacecraft after launch, in low earth orbit, in geostationary orbit and in deep space. It is located 10 kilometres (6.2 mi) south of the town of New Norcia, Western Australia.[1] It was the first ESA deep space ground station,[2] followed by Cebreros Station and Malargüe Station.

The station operates one 35-meter dish designated NNO-1[3] capable of two-way transmission in both S- and X-bands using 2 and 20-kilowatt transmitters. The antenna weighs over 600 tonnes and is 40 metres tall. Future upgrade plans include adding a Ka-band station to support international missions.[1]

Construction began in April 2000 and lasted until the end of the first half of 2002. Installation of electronics and communication equipment followed. The station was officially opened on 5 March 2003 by the Premier of Western Australia at the time, Dr Geoff Gallop. Total construction cost was €28 million.[2]

The 4.5-meter NNO-2 dish during its inauguration.

A new 4.5-metre dish designated NNO-2 was inaugurated on 11 February 2016.[4] NNO-2 was installed because the narrow beam width of the 35-metre dish was causing problems in acquiring spacecraft during their ascent stage.

The 4.5-metre dish has a wider beam width of and can be used to communicate with spacecraft up to 100,000 kilometres in altitude. To help in signal acquisition when the spacecraft position is too uncertain, the 4.5-metre dish has a 0.75-metre dish piggy-backed onto it, with an even wider beam width.

New Norcia Station was one of the stations providing communications, tracking and data download from the Rosetta spacecraft.[5] In the future it is planned to support the BepiColombo mission.[1]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "New Norcia - DSA 1". ESA. Retrieved 18 August 2014. 
  2. ^ a b "ESA's first deep space ground station opens in Western Australia". ESA. 3 March 2003. Retrieved 18 August 2014. 
  3. ^ "Find ESA tracking stations". ESA. Retrieved 18 August 2014. 
  4. ^ "New antenna ready for business". ESA. Retrieved 20 February 2014. 
  5. ^ "What's up with Rosetta?". ESA. 18 August 2014. Retrieved 18 August 2014. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 31°02′54″S 116°11′29″E / 31.0482°S 116.1914°E / -31.0482; 116.1914