Set to be inaugurated Dec. 18, the station at Malargue, Argentina, completes a trio of such deep-space stations, a release from ESA headquarters in Paris said Friday.
The station, at an altitude of 5,000 feet on the arid Argentine Pampas, is 130 feet tall and boasts a moving antenna assembly weighing 610 tons, the ESA said.
In addition to tracking missions within our solar system, the station can conduct radio science experiments to study the matter through which spacecraft-ground communication signals travel, scientists said.
"Malargue station receives X- and Ka-band radio signals, significantly boosting its ability to receive large amounts of data from very far away," ESA's Roberto Madde, station project manager, said.
In exchange for hosting it for a planned 50 years, the station's capacity will be shared with Argentina, whose national space office was a partner in the project.
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