The AuScope geodetic VLBI array
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The AuScope geodetic Very Long Baseline Interferometry array consists of three new 12-m radio telescopes and a correlation facility in Australia. The telescopes at Hobart (Tasmania), Katherine (Northern Territory) and Yarragadee (Western Australia) are co-located with other space geodetic techniques including Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS) and gravity infrastructure, and in the case of Yarragadee, satellite laser ranging (SLR) and Doppler Orbitography and Radiopositioning Integrated by Satellite (DORIS) facilities. The correlation facility is based in Perth (Western Australia). This new facility will make significant contributions to improving the densification of the International Celestial Reference Frame in the Southern Hemisphere, and subsequently enhance the International Terrestrial Reference Frame through the ability to detect and mitigate systematic error. This, combined with the simultaneous densification of the GNSS network across Australia, will enable the improved measurement of intraplate deformation across the Australian tectonic plate. In this paper, we present a description of this new infrastructure and present some initial results, including telescope performance measurements and positions of the telescopes in the International Terrestrial Reference Frame. We show that this array is already capable of achieving centimetre precision over typical long-baselines and that network and reference source systematic effects must be further improved to reach the ambitious goals of VLBI2010.
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