Tidbinbilla Today

The Canberra Deep Space Communication Complex

Tidbinbilla (CDSCC) is one of the three stations of NASA’s Deep Space Network (the others being Goldstone – GDSCC – and Madrid – MDSCC).

As of late 2014, Tidbinbilla had four operational large antennae –

DSS-43, a 70 metre cassegrain antenna. DSS-43 is the largest steerable antenna in the Southern Hemisphere. Opened as a 64 metre antenna in 1973.
DSS-45, a 34-metre High Efficiency type antenna built in the mid-1980s.
DSS-34, built in the late 1990s, and the newly-commissioned DSS-35, both new-generation 34 metre Beam Wave Guide antennae.

DSS-36, another 34 metre Beam Wave Guide antenna, is under construction.

DSS-46, the old Honeysuckle Creek 26 metre antenna, was retired-in-place in 2010, although other uses are still possible.
The plan is to maintain is as a national monument, in the light of the antenna’s role in receiving the television of the first step on the Moon in 1969.


CDSCC as seen from a commercial airliner flying between Sydney and Melbourne. Looking NNW.

Click on the image for a 2 page PDF file (2.4MB) – the first page has an annotated photo and the second page is without the annotations.

Photo by Steve Howard, November 2014.

See also the wider view on this page.

Panorama of CDSCC

A panorama of CDSCC taken in February 2012.

Closest to the camera is the 34 metre beam-waveguide antenna, DSS-34, with the 34m DSS-45 at far right in the distance.

In the centre distance is the 70 metre DSS-43.
DSS-46 (the old HSK antenna, now retired-in-place) is visible in the distance between DSS-34 and DSS-43.

The hill to the right of DSS-43 is Larry’s Hill, the hill from which the August 2006 panorama (and many others) was taken.

Photo: Colin Mackellar.

Panorama of CDSCC

Another panorama from a short distance to the east.

Photo: Colin Mackellar. Assembled by Graham Watts.

Tidbinbilla today
Tidbinbilla: The Canberra Deep Space Communication Complex
shrouded in mist on 25 May 2010. Photo: Louise M.
Large, Larger.
Tidbinbilla today

Click for a key to the above photo (450kb PDF file).


This panorama of Tidbinbilla was taken in late August 2006 –

Panorama of CDSCC

A panorama of CDSCC taken in August 2006.

Click the image for a version with the antennas identified.

Large (2MB), Largest (4.8MB)

Photo: Colin Mackellar.

Tidbinbilla has grown enormously since its founding. See this 1965 / 2006 comparison –

The photos are taken from approximately the same location, near the water tanks.

The images are aligned on the original DSN Operations Building – therefore the background hills are slightly out of register.
DSS-42 (the antenna in the 1965 image) was decommissioned and dismantled in December 2000.

Click here to see a rollover comparison

1965 photo via Les Whaley (scan: Mike Dinn).
2006 photo: Colin Mackellar


This is how Tidbinbilla looked in 1997 – click on the image for a 2 page PDF file (1.2MB) – one page has an annotated photo and the second page without the annotations.

DSS-46 at Tidbinbilla

DSS-46 – the old Honeysuckle antenna, near the Visitors Centre car park. Photo: Bill Wood, 2004.

Today, the old Honeysuckle antenna – DSS-46 – is situated near the Tidbinbilla Visitors Centre car park, and was used mainly in tracking near-Earth spacecraft until its retirement in January 2010. (The antenna was farewelled during the Apollo 11 40th anniversary celebrations in July 2009.)

The large DSS-43 antenna, which began life as a 64 metre antenna supporting Apollo 17, is now a 70 metre antenna and forms a key component of the Deep Space Network.


The 70m DSS-43.

In the foreground is a model of Voyager II and plaque, to commemorate CDSCC’s vital role in the encounter with Uranus in 1986. This was the entrance to the Visitors’ Centre c. 1995.

Photo: Colin Mackellar.

Voyager II plaque

The plaque.


The well-equipped and very informative Canberra Space Centre at Tidbinbilla is open every day between 9:00am and 5:00pm.