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DSA 3 is a deep space antenna that the European Space Agency (ESA) is building close to the city of Malargüe in Argentina and that will work in the X and Ka bands. ESA already owns a network of ground stations around the world that supports its satellital missions and launches of the Ariane 5 rocket. This network, that currently has two deep space stations in Australia and Spain, will be completed with DSA 3 by the end of 2012. Their 35-metres antennas makes them the biggest ones from ESA. Follow this link to see an up-to-date picture of the construction of DSA 3: http://www.esa.int/SPECIALS/Operations/SEME9C19Y8G_0.html

Antenna DSA – 2 in Cebreros (Spain) and their control room

ITeDA involvement in this project started with the search of a site in Argentina. A team of professional from the institute and the National Commission of Atomic Energy worked together with the National Commission of Space Activities to promote Argentina and Malargüe. The effort bears fruit in June 2009 when ESA announced that DSA 3 would be built in the proposed site.

Argentina then agreed with ESA to reserve up to 10% of antenna time for the country. There is currently an initiative of scientists from ITeDA, the Argentine Institute of Radioastronomy and the Institute of Astronomy and Space Physics to use some of this time for radioastronomy. DSA 3 has the capability of observing at centimetric and millimetric wavelengths with a resolution of up to 1 arcmin. Its cooled receivers and precise calibration will allow the collection of data with low noise in much shorter times than with other similar instruments.

Argentina already has consolidated radioastronomy groups that can make an intensive use and also train new radioastronomers with DSA 3. Some of the planned lines of research include the identification of gamma ray sources and the study of the radiogalaxy Centaurus A.