The New Norcia tracking station just north of Perth will be an integral part of the launch of European Space Agency – ESA’s new medium-lift Vega-C rocket when it takes off next Wednesday (TBC) from Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana.

The tracking station in WA is designed for communicating with deep-space missions and provides support to spacecraft such as Mars Express, Rosetta and Gaia for routine operations. The new Vega-C to launch on Wednesday can orbit larger satellites than its predecessor, carry two main payloads or can even accommodate rideshare missions.

The image above shows the 35m-diameter dish antenna of ESA’s deep-space tracking station in New Norcia, illuminated by ground lights against the night sky.

Credit: D. O’Donnell/ESA – CC BY-SA 3.0