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Deep Space Antenna 1 is ESA’s first 35-m deep dish, staring out to space to communicate with missions far from home.
Located 140 kilometres north of Perth, Western Australia, close to the village of New Norcia, this giant antenna is in the perfect spot to scan the skies.
“The Wadjarri people from the Murchison region refer to much of the milky way as the emu, as it resembles an emu stretched across the sky,” says Suzy Jackson, Maintenance & Operations Manager for the ground station.
“I’m told that when the emu’s nose reaches the horizon, that’s the best time to collect emu eggs. Having our antenna in the foreground just makes it all the better. I am amazed at how beautiful our workplace here is.”
The New Norcia antenna provides routine support to missions orbiting Mars like Mars Express and Exomars TGO as well as the Gaia space observatory, in the process of making the world's most precise map of the stars in our Milky Way galaxy and BepiColombo on its way to Mercury.
With the launch of ESA’s ESTRACK now 'dashboard’, you can find out exactly which missions are communicating with which antennas at any moment, and discover more about what individual missions are up to - what is their mission and how far away are they?
Explore the ESTRACK network in real time or go to http://estracknow.esa.int.
Check out our guide to using the site, here.
This processed image was taken by local astrophotographer Jim Longbottom. Find more of his work on his Flickr page.