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ANTENNA DSS-46 CANBERRA DEEP SPACE COMMUNICATIONS COMPLEX, ACT

Engineering Heritage Australia has conferred a National Engineering Heritage Landmark award under the Engineering Heritage Recognition Program for the Deep Space Station Antenna DSS-46 at the Canberra Deep Space Communications Complex, Tidbinbilla in the ACT. This antenna was originally located at the now demolished NASA facility at Honeysuckle Creek in the ACT and was moved to Tidbinbilla c. 1982.

Antenna DSS-46 is the last functioning major component of the Honeysuckle facility which was established in 1965 as part of NASA's Manned Space Flight Network to support the Apollo manned missions to the moon. It played an integral role in the Apollo 11 mission, providing alone the first historic pictures of man walking on the Moon, on Monday, 21st July 1969. Apart from the telecast for television, Honeysuckle Creek also had voice and telemetry contact with the lunar module, all transmissions being through antenna DSS-46. The antenna subsequently provided key communication and data support for all other manned space flight activities by NASA, including Skylab, up until 1974 when the entire Honeysuckle creek site was reconfigured to support the Deep Space program. When the Honeysuckle Creek site closed in 1981, the antenna was transferred to the nearby NASA site at Tidbinbilla.

The landing of Apollo 11 and subsequent walk on the moon's surface by Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin was one of the defining engineering achievements of the 20th century, and the Honeysuckle site provided the world with the images and sounds of that historic first step on a terrestrial body beyond the Earth. Few events in the last 50 years have galvanised the world as did that first moon landing. The importance of the DSS-46 antenna in terms of engineering heritage is that it (together with the Parkes Radio Telescope) are the last remaining tangible reminders of Australia's significant role in this most outstanding of engineering achievements of the 20th century. Over the last 44 years, this antenna has been used to receive and transmit data and communications for virtually all of the manned and unmanned NASA space programs and in doing so along with the other Australian ground stations, continues to provide an essential and invaluable contribution to the success of these programs.



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Antenna DSS-46 at its original location at Honeysuckle Creek.


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Antenna DSS-46 at its new location at Canberra Deep Space Communications Complex.
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