Our feature interview is with Richard Stephenson, who is the Operations Supervisor at the Canberra Deep Space Communication Complex at Tidbinbilla in Australia.
The CDSCC is part of the Deep Space Network of NASA‘s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), managed in Australia by the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO). Thanks to Glen Nagle (Episode 17) for facilitating this interview
Richard explains the technologies he uses to have up to 100 spacecraft contacts each week, and how he and his counterparts in Goldstone/Mojave and Madrid work in shifts around the clock to maintain two-way communications with 27 missions, including Cassini, Juno, New Horizons and the distant Voyager probes.
In our regular astrophotography and observations segment, Dr Ian ‘Astroblog’ Musgrave tells us what to look for in the night sky and reports on continuing ideal viewing conditions for Saturn and Mercury. In ‘Ian’s Tangent’ he tells us about different types of occultation and how they can be used to tell us the position, size and shape of asteroids.
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