Partners in space: CSIRO and NASA celebrate its 50th anniversary

Uploaded by csiro on 23.02.2010

Dr Andrew Thomas - "As an Australian and as a NASA astronaut,
"I've seen the real advantages that have come through international co-operation
"in the exploration of the solar system.
"In the past 50 years there's really been no better demonstration of that co-operation
"than the partnership between the United States and Australia through NASA's Deep Space Network."
To stay in constant radio contact with robotic spacecraft exploring the Solar System and beyond,
NASA established three tracking stations located near Madrid, Spain; Goldstone, California;
and just outside Canberra, Australia.
Coordinated through the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California
they form, NASA's Deep Space Network.
Responsibility for operating and maintaining each of the complexes falls to a close team
of dedicated men and women who share their knowledge and expertise around the world.
Bill Dobie - "The collaboration between the three sites: Goldstone, Madrid and Canberra
"is crucial to us. We all tend to be maintaining very similar equipment
"and there are certain things that are learnt on the different sites.
"We all strive to try and achieve the best outcomes."
Basilio Ormeno - "The co-operation is real, we have real time interface with them.
"Anything that we need to ask them they tell us their experiences
"and we also pass on any experiences they may not have. We co-operate 100 per cent."
Ever since we took our first steps beyond Earth to explore the universe around us,
Australia has played a vital role in the exploration of space.
Antennas across the country supported NASA's first satellites
and followed their astronauts as they journeyed into Earth orbit.
They also provided telemetry, command and ranging for a fleet of deep space probes
headed for the Moon and the planets beyond.
John Murray - "It could get quite exciting.
"I remember back to the days of the lunar orbit when I first started, there were several spacecraft
"going around the moon, and
"you could hear the beat of a space craft come in as you were trying to lock up to it."
Don Gray - "The marvellous thing was how well the Americans trusted us.
"They trusted our judgement; they trusted us for being competent, professional people
"and they listened to the people on the stations."
Today, the Canberra Deep Space Communication Complex
stands alone as the southern hemispheres only deep space tracking station.
Supporting the missions of many nations and dozens of spacecraft every day,
each process in the communication path
relies on teams of highly skilled personnel.
Their work focuses on areas of Antenna Maintenance, Systems Engineering,
Spacecraft Communications and Logistics Administration.
Dr Miriam Baltuck - "The best thing about working here is the people.
"They are so sharp, so professional, so dedicated.
"Many of them have been here for decades and there's something about our culture that's
"so caught up in getting this right. In making these missions work."
Basilio Ormeno - "We operate 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
"So you have to choose people who can be compatible with each other."
Bill Dobie - "We can be called up at any time to come out and repair an antenna and get it back on line."
Lan Pham - "It might get a bit isolated at times so being able to refer to...
"to someone else that has the exact same knowledge and expertise in the area is excellent."
John Murray - "The dedication of the staff is crucially important because they might have to make
"split second decisions on their own to keep the systems running
"so that the operations can get back on a spacecraft.
"And in the middle of the night you want somebody that's totally dedicated."
The incredible discoveries made in space over the last 50 years
would not have been possible without the role played by the hundreds of men and women
who have worked at the tracking stations.
They stand as an inspiration to the next generation of space explorers
who just now are looking to the stars.
Dr Baltuck - "It's our people I'm so proud of.
"It's their dedication, their professionalism, more than that, they love what they do.
"The anniversary of 50 years of partnership in space tracking,
"it's a great opportunity for us to reflect on the accomplishments
"in science, engineering and goodwill of our long history
"but it's also a great opportunity to look ahead.
"On site we're currently building a new, state of the art, antenna
"to usher us well into the 21st Century."
The success of the Deep Space Communication Complex and the Deep Space Network
is founded on its people and the strength of an international collaboration
stretching back to the beginnings of space exploration.
Dr Baltuck - "It's the thrill of being a part of something that's so...
"magnificent in concept and yet requires so much attention to detail
"and these are the guys that do it.
"We'll be here in partnership with the Deep Space Network
"as long as there is a Deep Space Network."