Previous -- Start Page -- Next (next picture is 300 kB in size)
DSS-43 — the largest dish in the southern hemisphere. It is 73 meters high and the main reflector dish is 70 meters in diameter. The large dish is necessary to pick up the extremely weak signals coming from spacecraft literally billions of miles away. With spacecraft so far away, the tolerance for error in pointing exactly at the spacecraft is very small. The pointing of the dish on the altitude-azimuth mount is within an incredibly precise 0.005 degrees (18 arc seconds). The dish rotates using hydrostatic bearing: a high-pressure layer of oil lifts the entire over 3000-metric ton structure by only 0.17 mm. The base of the antenna extends another 11 meters underground and the whole antenna weighs in at 10 million kg.