Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Workers At Australian Site Save Space Antennas From Wildfire

Date:
January 27, 2003
Source:
NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Summary:
Australian antennas of NASA's Deep Space Network used for communicating with spacecraft are back in normal operation after a close call with wildfires that destroyed hundreds of homes and took four lives in the Canberra area.

Australian antennas of NASA's Deep Space Network used for communicating with spacecraft are back in normal operation after a close call with wildfires that destroyed hundreds of homes and took four lives in the Canberra area.

Brush fires surrounded the network's Canberra complex on Saturday. Workers used hoses to dowse spot fires on the site Saturday and were still extinguishing flare-ups Monday.

"A group of staff performed magnificently, successfully ensuring that no fires took hold at the site," said Peter Churchill, director of the Canberra antenna complex. "They also assisted the local fire service in their efforts to protect homes and farm infrastructure in the Tidbinbilla Valley."

The Canberra dish antennas were inactive for about three and one-half hours Saturday so workers could concentrate on the fire. During that period, the complex had been scheduled to be in communication with five spacecraft on interplanetary missions or in Earth orbit, but none of the missed transmissions was critical or irreplaceable, said Joseph Wackley, Deep Space Network operations manager at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.

The network has antenna clusters in California, Spain and Australia so that the large radio dishes can be pointed toward spacecraft in any part of the solar system as the world turns. The antennas communicate with spacecraft as distant as Voyager 1, more than twice as far away as Pluto.

Strong winds spread the fires across expanses of drought-parched vegetation. One entrance to the Canberra complex has been closed because of a burned-out bridge, Churchill said. An outlying support structure -- a tower, used in calibrations of the antennas -- was damaged by the fires. The site's visitor center is temporarily closed. The fire destroyed another important astronomical resource in the area, the Mount Stromlo observatory of Australian National University.

The antenna site has its own backup electrical generators and water supply. The facility is sharing hot meals and water with area residents who have temporarily lost power and water to their homes.

"We are expecting further adverse weather conditions during the week and continue to prepare ourselves for fire duties as required," Churchill said.

JPL, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, manages the Deep Space Network for NASA. The network's Canberra site is operated by British Aerospace, under contract to Australia's Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory. "Workers At Australian Site Save Space Antennas From Wildfire." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 27 January 2003. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2003/01/030127075447.htm>.
NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory. (2003, January 27). Workers At Australian Site Save Space Antennas From Wildfire. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 1, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2003/01/030127075447.htm
NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory. "Workers At Australian Site Save Space Antennas From Wildfire." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2003/01/030127075447.htm (accessed October 1, 2014).

Share This



More Space & Time News

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

French Apple Fans Discover the Apple Watch

French Apple Fans Discover the Apple Watch

AFP (Sep. 30, 2014) — Apple fans in France discover the latest toy, the Apple Watch. The watch comes in two sizes and an array of interchangeable, fashionable wrist straps. Duration: 00:42 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
The Water You Drink Might Be Older Than The Sun

The Water You Drink Might Be Older Than The Sun

Newsy (Sep. 27, 2014) — Researchers at the University of Michigan simulated the birth of planets and our sun to determine whether water in the solar system predates the sun. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
First Woman Cosmonaut in 17 Years Blasts Off for ISS

First Woman Cosmonaut in 17 Years Blasts Off for ISS

AFP (Sep. 26, 2014) — A Russian Soyuz spacecraft carrying an American astronaut and two Russian cosmonauts, including the first woman cosmonaut in 17 years, blasted off on schedule Friday. Duration: 00:35 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Water Discovery On Small Planet Could Be Key To Earth 2.0

Water Discovery On Small Planet Could Be Key To Earth 2.0

Newsy (Sep. 25, 2014) — Scientists have discovered traces of water in the atmosphere of a distant, Neptune-sized planet. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins