On Saturday 13th April 2013, DSS43 will mark 40 years of service and deep space operations.
To mark this milestone, the Canberra Deep Space Communication Complex (in Australia) will host a day featuring a photo exhibition, talks and presentations on the antenna and a series of booked tours to the antenna which will be available to the public.
On the 13th of April 1973, then Prime Minister of Australia, Gough Whitlam, took a 45-minute drive from (Old) Parliament House in Canberra and out to the beautiful bushland setting of the Tidbinbilla valley.
Clustered in the rolling valleys and farmland surrounded by grazing sheep and cattle were the giant white antenna dishes of the Canberra Deep Space Communication Complex (CDSCC). Dominating the valley was the newly completed, massive 64-metre wide, dish-like antenna called Deep Space Station 43 (DSS43).
Gough Whitlam was there to officially open the new dish that had taken three years to construct. As wide as the Parkes Radio Telescope but taller and heavier, DSS43 could not only receive radio signals but also transmit. Designed to send commands to spacecraft exploring distant planets and receive their data, process and relay it back to scientists all over the world.
Surrounded by dignitaries and station staff, and standing alongside the NASA Administrator, James Fletcher, Prime Minister Whitlam officially threw the switch that ushered in a new era in space exploration for Australia and the world - taking Canberra from the bush to the stars.