Wednesday, December 19th 2012 - 04:06 UTC

Europe opens state of the art satellite tracking station in Argentina

A new satellite tracking station at Malargue, Mendoza, Argentina, was formally inaugurated on Tuesday, completing the trio of deep-space stations and confirming ESA, European Space Agency, as one of the world's most technologically advanced space organisations.

The moving antenna at the Malargue station weighs 600 tons

The massive radio reflector dish of ESA's new station (DS3) is the most visible indication of the impressive technology that will track missions voyaging hundreds of millions of kilometres deep in our Solar System.

Forty metres tall and with a moving antenna assembly weighing 610 tonnes, the station strikes a starkly beautiful pose 1500 meters up on an arid Argentine plain, where high tech meets the high Pampas.

In addition to tracking missions at Mars and Venus, it can also conduct radio science experiments, allowing scientists in Europe and Argentina to study the matter through which the spacecraft-ground communication signals travel.

In exchange for hosting it for a planned 50 years, the station's capacity will be shared with Argentina whose CONAE national space office was an instrumental partner. The overall investment was estimated in 60 million dollars.

“Malargue station receives X- and Ka-band radio signals, significantly boosting its ability to receive large amounts of data from very far away,” says ESA's Roberto Madde, station project manager.

“It's a marvellous piece of engineering, and years of design and development work at the Agency have come to fruition.

“We were helped a lot by our Argentine partners in the making of the station and this collaboration shows how good the relationship between ESA and CONAE is.”

A 20 kW amplifier enables transmission of tele-commands hundreds of millions of kilometres into space, while low-noise amplifiers cooled to -258 degrees C enable receipt of ultra-weak signals from beyond Jupiter.

Construction began in January 2010, and the station was substantially complete by spring 2012. The first test signals from Mars Express, orbiting the Red Planet 193 million km from Earth, were received on 14 June 2012.

Joining DSA 1 in New Norcia, Australia, and DSA 2 in Cebreros, Spain, DSA 3 Malarguee provides the final leg in ESA's global coverage for deep-space probes, which typically operate well beyond two million km from Earth and where communications require highly accurate pointing.

“With the Malargue station, ESA becomes only the second space agency in the world to provide all-sky coverage for deep-space missions,” said Jean-Jacques Dordain, ESA's Director General. He added “this is a tremendous asset not only for Europe but also for all our international partners in the exploration of the Solar System.”


28 comments Feed

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1 Britworker (#) Dec 19th, 2012 - 07:51 am Report abuse
Good, we should be able to keep a close eye on them here and right under their nose. Obviously the story of the Trojan horse never got taught in Argentine history, too full of bogus claims to fictitious lands and people who never existed.
2 Santa Fe (#) Dec 19th, 2012 - 08:30 am Report abuse
apparently it's and IMF debt tracking station, it's in the right place jajajajaja
3 Shed-time (#) Dec 19th, 2012 - 08:56 am Report abuse
You think they think this is a new weapons platform like the academic radio array, that had hector 'american citizen' strawman so rattled in the falklands?
4 Pirate Love (#) Dec 19th, 2012 - 10:33 am Report abuse
surely chile would have been a more stable place to situate such technology than argentina, how long before it becomes nationalized?
5 CJvR (#) Dec 19th, 2012 - 12:10 pm Report abuse

I doubt it have any real commercial value, but I agree that Chile would have been the more stable option. IIRC ESA already have a huge observatory in Atacama.
6 Britworker (#) Dec 19th, 2012 - 12:37 pm Report abuse
Yes Chile would have been a far better location, they will get dreadful interference from Timmermans ears where it is.
7 Shed-time (#) Dec 19th, 2012 - 01:18 pm Report abuse
+1 vote / should have been chile.
8 briton (#) Dec 19th, 2012 - 02:33 pm Report abuse
Will CFK nationalise it,
And can she claim sovereignty over it,, and everything it finds.

.We are surprised argie bloggers aint here claiming militarising of argentina
9 reality check (#) Dec 19th, 2012 - 02:53 pm Report abuse
All this so Maximo could get SKY Sport.
10 Orbit (#) Dec 19th, 2012 - 02:54 pm Report abuse
@5 - to be fair, its only in the past two years that CFK has become visibly unstable and fully engaged in ruining her country, so with planning and construction already underway, it would have been difficult to stop at that point.
11 Pirate Love (#) Dec 19th, 2012 - 03:17 pm Report abuse
Breaking news....Argentina instrumental in selling sensitive satelite information to russia and Iran through fellow dictators venezuela......

not such a clever move by the ESA, when Stable secure Falklands is in the same area.
12 reality check (#) Dec 19th, 2012 - 03:28 pm Report abuse
Hey Maximo! How's the reception on the Disney Channel?
13 Nostrolldamus The 3rd (#) Dec 19th, 2012 - 03:40 pm Report abuse
The 10 nugatory ramblings above are lucent and perturbing evidence of the UK education system at work, and more generally of the precipitous decline of the UK.

Here we have apparently EIGHT (8) full-bodied adult individuals, who not only attest for the incompetence of the British education system through their witless hyperbole, but also demonstrate with eloquence their otiose standing in society.

Instead of pursuing with plenary faculties their professions or métiers, edifying their moral core with spiritual learning, or use this time to improve (or ameliorate) their personal level of instruction, culture, or general knowledge; the fritter away precious minutes and hours by caterwauling andredacting vain claptrap that within 3 minutes of posting loses all effervescence, if it ever had any.

This is empirical evidence with real subjects, not the apocryphal agitprop that portrays the British as schooled and culturally refined people of acumen and savoir-faire.

The above is the real British: boorish, stupid, jaundiced, grudgeful, and worldly unenlightened.
14 Alexei (#) Dec 19th, 2012 - 03:42 pm Report abuse
Is that wise? It looks like an expensive bit of kit. Haven't they been paying attention. I'd be concerned the Argie oligarchy might suddenly decide it belongs to them, like the other stuff they've stolen, or attempted to steal.
15 Santa Fe (#) Dec 19th, 2012 - 04:00 pm Report abuse
13... Toby jajajajaja Speaks the Troll that spends 24 -7 on every forum spouting crap...,it's Troll time.

how long did it take to write your little SpeechIt makes you look dead clever and all that with all those fancy words, you must be a man or woman with learning.

or a troll with a desperate need show off, like a precocious 12 year old ,
16 Alexei (#) Dec 19th, 2012 - 04:04 pm Report abuse
@15 Quite

@13 Nostril the 3rd Utterly pretentious empty twaddle.


“I'm not a rustic gaucho! Look, I'm erudite, I can even use my english thesaurus. Please respect me”.

A brainwashed über-nationalist inadequate upstart with an obvious inferiority complex who's learned to use a dictionary, is still a brainwashed über-nationalist inadequate upstart with an inferiority complex. It's quite sad really.
17 Pirate Love (#) Dec 19th, 2012 - 04:25 pm Report abuse
@15 words that is all trolls have, no matter how many dictionary websites they visit, somehow their search for what they see as intelligent words on the internet does not change the fact their comments are baseless!
you can put a bow on a dog sh*t, but it still is a dog sh*t.
18 Britworker (#) Dec 19th, 2012 - 04:32 pm Report abuse
The CIA know Argentina is using Venezuela as an interlocutor, selling nuclear technology to Iran. That's what all these recent meetings they have been having have been about
19 Huntsman Extraordinaire (#) Dec 19th, 2012 - 04:38 pm Report abuse

My 8 month old boy spouts out more sincere and well meaning tosh than you do.

For all of what you said and you probably spent a very long time working out; you actually said very little.

When I walk through the door after a day at work and my son's face lights up, he smiles, holds out his hands and starts screaming “dadadadadadadadada....” I understand completely what he is getting at and what he wants. Unlike your gabble of gyberish which means very little and really had little or no point to it... A poor attempt at a poorly thought out insult, that wasn't really insulting at all; more an embarrassment for yourself.
20 ElaineB (#) Dec 19th, 2012 - 05:06 pm Report abuse
By TTT got what he craves. Attention. Ignoring a narcissist is the worst thing you can do.
21 Santa Fe (#) Dec 19th, 2012 - 05:11 pm Report abuse
13... Toby has got a Thesaurus for an early Xmas present. he wonders if he looks up three or four different words meaning the same then list quote them in line it will make him look educated...epic fail Jajajajajajaja
22 Shed-time (#) Dec 19th, 2012 - 06:00 pm Report abuse
@21 Tobias is just a language leech who is here to try out some new words he learned in his language lessons. Fair play to him insofar as he has to get a job, and all good jobs involve speaking english. The quickest way to learn a language is to go trolling on a site like this.

I still doubt whether he agrees with half the crepe he types though. He just wants to stimulate the conversation to allow him to use new phrases.

Language leech is gonna leech.
23 Pirate Love (#) Dec 19th, 2012 - 09:38 pm Report abuse
@22 anybody can do what insecure nostril is doing, write a comment change some of the words for more fancy words found on the internet in his attempt to big himself up,
the question is, is he sad enough to carry it on, knowing that his game was up long before he knew it, or will he continue to amuse us with his latest internet knowledge.

i believe hes using big words to compensate for other physical short comings, most likely sexual, his overuse of long words seems to point at the feelings of inferiority in the bedroom and the lack of performance with the opposite sex with repeatative bouts of denial and the lust for power, he probably stares at farm animals, he needs to seek a doctors help, maybe this will help him.

even with nostril and his big uncommon words, does not change the fact The Falklands remains a British Overseas Territory, but theres no harm trying, i suppose.

24 slattzzz (#) Dec 19th, 2012 - 09:44 pm Report abuse
@13 nice one nostril anus.........knob keep reading your thesaurus and keep the tissues handy, you don't want an accident do you?
25 reality check (#) Dec 20th, 2012 - 08:15 am Report abuse
Turn the Sat Nav on, IOU LIBERTAD needs to find her way home in time for the party.
26 Pete Bog (#) Dec 21st, 2012 - 04:57 pm Report abuse
“I'd be concerned the Argie oligarchy might suddenly decide it belongs to them”

Would they know how to operate it if they nationalised it? YPF haven't exactly blossomed since nationalisation.
27 Zethee (#) Dec 21st, 2012 - 08:36 pm Report abuse
Shed-time: The actual term would be psuedo-intellectual. Someone who pretends to be intelligent, one of the easiest ways to be a mighty forum warrior is to grab a thesaurus and try to sound smart by forcing words and concepts into your vocabulary that wouldn't otherwise be there.

Another way to pretend to be a mighty forum warrior is to constantly tell people how beneath you they are, and how you are a titan of intellectual capabilities.

Mighty forum warriors often like to tell you about there IQ levels too.

I see Nostro doing both, constantly.
28 British_Kirchnerist (#) Dec 24th, 2012 - 07:03 pm Report abuse
good news, Europe comes to Argentina, wouldn't expect that from reading the ramblings of the haters =) Imagine if the aliens get in touch with Earth through this station and ask “take us to your leader” and its Cristina they see; they'll end up looking more kindly on humanity than maybe we deserve, if judged by what most of the other leaders are like =)

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