Canberra Deep Space Communication Complex – Paddys River, Australia - Atlas Obscura
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Paddys River, Australia

Canberra Deep Space Communication Complex

It's home to the antenna that received the first images of Neil Armstrong walking on the moon. 

One of only three sites in the world responsible for communication with distant spacecraft, this NASA facility in the Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve south of Canberra has been in use for over 50 years.

NASA opened the Tidbinbilla Deep Space Instrument Facility in 1965, at a location that was close to Australia’s capital city, but sheltered from radio interference by the hilly terrain. Later renamed, the complex has provided support for the moon landings, Skylab, the Space Shuttle, and many more missions. It will also play a key role in planned missions to Mars.

As of July 2019, the station has five operational radio dishes to communicate with spacecraft, the largest of which measures nearly 230 feet. The antenna that received the very first images of Neil Armstrong walking on the moon, originally based at nearby Honeysuckle Creek, is now located at the complex.

Know Before You Go

After turning from Paddys River Road onto Discovery Drive, you will see a sign requesting all transmitting and receiving equipment, including phones and laptops, should be switched off before traveling any farther. Closer to the Complex are signs requesting that mobile phones are at least set to airplane mode.

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