To Infinity… and Beyond!

At OPEC Systems, we are proud of our ability to successfully perform work in remote locations, but our recent work with NASA and their Deep Space Network has exceeded all expectations. 

The Deep Space Network is NASA’s international array of radio antennas that allow it to communicate with its spacecraft located at the moon and beyond. 

NASA currently has around 40 spacecraft operating in deep space, including the recent Insight mission to Mars, and the pioneering Voyager 1 and Voyager 2 spacecraft, which have now crossed the heliosphere into interstellar space.

The Deep Space Network is supported by ground stations located in the USA, Spain, and – in partnership with CSIRO – at Tidbinbilla near Canberra in the Australian Capital.

For Tidbinbilla to continue its conversations with craft in deep space, it relies on its backup generator system should power fail. 

During the engagement, OPEC’s specialist skills were put into action as the team performed integrity testing on many underground fuel tanks, together with a tank decommission, completion of system repairs and the use of ground search technology for the purposes of developing piping schematics.

“Developing the piping schematics puzzle was the best part, where we used ground penetrating radar along with specialist technicians to track and trace the underground systems,” said OPEC Systems Business Development Manager, Ben McDonnell.

“We then developed drafting models and produced entire system diagrams, and we were pleased to be able to perform the entire project at the reliability level that NASA requires.”

So the next time you see a picture of a rock on Mars, or an image of the curiously-shaped ‘Ultima Thule’ which was recently captured by NASA’s New Horizons mission in the Kuiper belt, we can reflect on the not insignificant role that companies like OPEC Systems perform to ensure NASA’s continuing ability to receive important data from deep space.