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Friday, April 19, 2024

Deep Space Station 43 -- Canberra, Australia



From the IEEE article: 

The dish’s manufacturer took great pains to ensure that its surface had no bumps or rough spots. The smoother the dish surface, the better it is at focusing incident waves onto the signal detector so there’s a higher signal-to-noise ratio.

DSS-43 boasts a pointing accuracy of 0.005 degrees (18 arc seconds)—which is important for ensuring that it is pointed directly at the receiver on a distant spacecraft. Voyager 2 broadcasts using a 23-watt radio. But by the time the signals traverse the multibillion-kilometer distance from the heliopause to Earth, their power has faded to a level 20 billion times weaker than what is needed to run a digital watch. Capturing every bit of the incident signals is crucial to gathering useful information from the transmissions.

The antenna has a transmitter capable of 400 kilowatts, with a beam width of 0.0038 degrees. Without the 1987 upgrade, signals sent from DSS-43 to a spacecraft venturing outside the solar system likely never would reach their target.

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