It is a 26-metre (85 ft) parabolic Cassegrain antenna capable of receiving signals in the 1 to 3 GHz range.
It was taken out of service in 1981, having been technologically bypassed by later telescopes.
However, since the spacecraft they communicate with are much further away than the communication satellites which home satellite dishes use, the signals received are much weaker, requiring a larger aperture antenna to gather enough radio energy to make them intelligible.
The largest, a 70-meter (230 ft) Cassegrain antenna, is used for communication with space missions to the outer planets, such as the Voyager spacecraft, at 20 billion kilometers the most distant manmade object from Earth.
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