Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Western Australia's ESA tracking stations

A couple of weeks ago I ventured into the Swan Valley to visit the ESA tracking station at Gnangara. Ron Vogels showed me around the control room, where we saw incoming telemetry from the XMM satellite, the recently de-commissioned Intelsat antennae, and the ESA antenna. We climbed inside the antenna as far as it was safe to go, without invoking the special procedures to avoid decapitation by the safety hatch at the top level.

Unfortunately I didn't have the resources (ie time and a car) to go to the Deep Space tracking station near the rather fascinating settlement of New Norcia north of Perth. This community was founded by Benedictine monks who follow the traditions of their order and produce all sorts of culinary delights. But Gnangara also has its pleasures - after my friend Jane Balme was visibly tiring of all the satellite and space talk, we repaired to the Sandalford winery for lunch.

No comments:

Post a Comment