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Canberra's second tracking station will be operational from tomorrow

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(Statement by'the Hon. Peter Howson, M .P.,

' Acting Minister for Supply)



The Data Acquisition Facility in Orroral Valley, near

Canberra, will begin limited satellite tracking operations from

tomorrow morning, October 1.

This is announced today by the Acting Minister for Supply

(Mr. Peter Howson).

The tracking station has been established by the Department

of Supply on behalf of the U.3. National Aeronautics and Space


The DAF Station is the second NASA tracking installation

to be established in the Australian Capital Territory. The first,

the Deep Space Tracking Station· at Tidbinbilla, became fully operat­

ional in February this year when it began tracking the U.S. deep-space

probe Mariner IV on its photographic mission to M a r s ,

Mr, Howson said that during the next few months, installat­

ion pf further equipment will continue at the Orro.ral Valley station

and the scope of tracking operations gradually will be increased.

It is expected that the DAF Station will be fully operational

by early next year, by which time it will be capable of handling

three satellites simultaneously by utilising the various antennas and .

associated electronic equipment. It will be possible to receive data

from as many as three satellites and transmit commands to them at the

same time.

Mr. Howson said the Orroral Valley station was a prime unit

in the NASA Space Tracking and Data Acquisition Network (STADAN),

which operates under the control of the Goddard Space Flight Centre

at Greenbelt (Maryland).

• The other prime stations in the STADAN network were located at

Rosman (North Carolina) and at Fairbanks (Alaska), and each of these

stations was equipped x/ith an 85 ft. diameter paraboloid dish antenna.



— 2 r*

1 1 The prime. .purpose' of -the DAP 'station at Orroral Valley

is to track and obtain scientific information from a new generation

of Earth-orbiting satellites known as observatory satellites, whose

main function is the furthering of man's knowledge of geophysical

and astronomical aspects of the Earth environment and its surround­

ings in space” . ‘

The station is situated about 35 miles south of Canberra.

It incorporates an 85ft, diameter dish antenna, several smaller

antennas, an operations building which is the operational nerve-

centre of the station and the administrative headquarters, and a

power house,

When fully operational next year, a staff of about 100 people

will be employed in running the station which will operate on a

continuous basis. The 85ft. diameter antenna will provide coverage

for Earth satellites of the more advanced type.

Hr. Howson said that as in the case of other tracking

stations in Australia, Orroral Valley would be operated by a leading

Australian electronics firm. .

1 Ξ.Μ,Ϊ. Electronics Ltd. would be responsible to the Depart­

ment of Supply for the operation and maintenance of the station. A

resident Station Director from Weapons Research Establishment~w.ould. be__,...

in overall control of the station on behalf of the Department of

Supply, Mr. Howson said.

Mr. T, Reid, of Weapons Research Establishment, is the first

Station Director at Orroral Valley,

Thursday, September 30, 1965.