On 7 December, the huge 35 m-diameter dish antenna for ESA’s new deep space station at Malargüe, Argentina, was hoisted into place. The delicate and demanding operation took several hours and had to wait for a calm day with no wind. The station, known as DSA3, will enter service in 2012.
On 22 June 2009, ESA informed Argentine authorities that an area 30 km south of the town of Malargüe in Mendoza province, about 1000 km west of Buenos Aires, has been chosen as the best option to build a new 35-metre antenna in support of its programmes.
The 600-tonne dish, located at -35° 46′ 33.5″, -69° 23′ 53.7″, will complete the 360-degree deep space coverage needed to ensure full telecommunications during mission-critical events and enhance the return of scientific data.
The antenna is now under construction and will become operational from mid-2012 in support of scientific and exploration missions.