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A mosaic depicting ESA’s new 35 m-diameter deep-space tracking dish at Malargüe, Argentina. The mosaic is composed of several hundred low-resolution Visual Monitoring Camera (VMC) images acquired by Mars Express. On 18 December 2012, the station downloaded a VMC image from Mars Express orbiting some 328 million kilometres from Earth to mark the station’s formal inauguration and the symbolic transmission of ‘first data’. The image was received at ESA’s European Space Operations Centre, Darmstadt, Germany, and processed by the Mars Express mission operations team.
Photo mosaic generated using AndreaMosaic.
The agreement to build and exploit the station was signed with Argentina on 16 November 2009, for a planned duration of 50 years. The agreement contains benefits, facilities and services to be provided by Argentina. In exchange, ESA will make available to Argentina 10 percent of the antenna time for their national scientific projects in space. The Comisión Nacional de Actividades Espaciales (CONAE) is responsible for the implementation of the agreement.