Deep Space Communications

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Other Lagrangian points may or may not be subject to this rule due to distance. Army , deployed portable radio tracking stations in Nigeria, Singapore, and California to receive telemetry and plot the orbit of the Army-launched Explorer 1 , the first successful U. On December 3, , JPL was transferred from the US Army to NASA and given responsibility for the design and execution of lunar and planetary exploration programs using remotely controlled spacecraft.

Goldstone Deep Space Communications Complex

Shortly after the transfer, NASA established the concept of the Deep Space Network as a separately managed and operated communications system that would accommodate all deep space missions, thereby avoiding the need for each flight project to acquire and operate its own specialized space communications network. The DSN was given responsibility for its own research, development, and operation in support of all of its users.

Under this concept, it has become a world leader in the development of low-noise receivers; large parabolic-dish antennas; tracking, telemetry, and command systems; digital signal processing; and deep space navigation. The Deep Space Network formally announced its intention to send missions into deep space on Christmas Eve ; it has remained in continuous operation in one capacity or another ever since. The largest antennas of the DSN are often called on during spacecraft emergencies. Almost all spacecraft are designed so normal operation can be conducted on the smaller and more economical antennas of the DSN, but during an emergency the use of the largest antennas is crucial.

This is because a troubled spacecraft may be forced to use less than its normal transmitter power, attitude control problems may preclude the use of high-gain antennas , and recovering every bit of telemetry is critical to assessing the health of the spacecraft and planning the recovery.

Canberra Deep Space Communication Complex |

The most famous example is the Apollo 13 mission, where limited battery power and inability to use the spacecraft's high-gain antennas reduced signal levels below the capability of the Manned Space Flight Network , and the use of the biggest DSN antennas and the Australian Parkes Observatory radio telescope was critical to saving the lives of the astronauts. While Apollo was also a US mission, DSN provides this emergency service to other space agencies as well, in a spirit of inter-agency and international cooperation.

Although normally tasked with tracking unmanned spacecraft, the Deep Space Network DSN also contributed to the communication and tracking of Apollo missions to the Moon , although primary responsibility was held by the Manned Space Flight Network. Two antennas at each site were needed both for redundancy and because the beam widths of the large antennas needed were too small to encompass both the lunar orbiter and the lander at the same time. DSN also supplied some larger antennas as needed, in particular for television broadcasts from the Moon, and emergency communications such as Apollo Originally, the participation of DSN m antennas during an Apollo Mission was to be limited to a backup role.

However, the presence of two, well-separated spacecraft during lunar operations stimulated the rethinking of the tracking and communication problem. Calculations showed, though, that a m antenna pattern centered on the landed Lunar Module would suffer a 9-to db loss at the lunar horizon, making tracking and data acquisition of the orbiting Command Service Module difficult, perhaps impossible.

How could the goals of both Apollo and deep space exploration be achieved without building a third m antenna at each of the three sites or undercutting planetary science missions? The solution came in early at a meeting at NASA Headquarters, when Eberhardt Rechtin suggested what is now known as the "wing concept". The wing approach involves constructing a new section or "wing" to the main building at each of the three involved DSN sites.

The wing would include a MSFN control room and the necessary interface equipment to accomplish the following:. With this arrangement, the DSN station could be quickly switched from a deep-space mission to Apollo and back again. Deep space missions would not be compromised nearly as much as if the entire station's equipment and personnel were turned over to Apollo for several weeks. The details of this cooperation and operation are available in a two-volume technical report from JPL. The IND is considered to be JPL's focal point for all matters relating to telecommunications, interplanetary navigation, information systems, information technology, computing, software engineering, and other relevant technologies.

Harris has responsibility for managing the Goldstone complex, operating the DSOC, and for DSN operations, mission planning, operations engineering, and logistics. Each complex consists of at least four deep space terminals equipped with ultra-sensitive receiving systems and large parabolic-dish antennas. There are:. Three were located at Goldstone, and one each at Canberra and Madrid. In order to meet the current and future needs of deep space communication services, a number of new Deep Space Station antennas need to be built at the existing Deep Space Network sites.

By , the 70 meter antennas at all three locations will be decommissioned and replaced with 34 meter BWG antennas that will be arrayed. All systems will be upgraded to have X-band uplink capabilities and both X and Ka-band downlink capabilities. The general capabilities of the DSN have not substantially changed since the beginning of the Voyager Interstellar Mission in the early s. However, many advancements in digital signal processing, arraying and error correction have been adopted by the DSN. The ability to array several antennas was incorporated to improve the data returned from the Voyager 2 Neptune encounter, and extensively used for the Galileo spacecraft , when the high-gain antenna did not deploy correctly.

The California and Australia sites were used concurrently to pick up communications with Galileo. Arraying of antennas within the three DSN locations is also used.

The World's first private Deep Space Communications Network

For especially vital missions, like Voyager 2 , non-DSN facilities normally used for radio astronomy can be added to the array. All the stations are remotely operated from a centralized Signal Processing Center at each complex.

These Centers house the electronic subsystems that point and control the antennas, receive and process the telemetry data, transmit commands, and generate the spacecraft navigation data. Once the data is processed at the complexes, it is transmitted to JPL for further processing and for distribution to science teams over a modern communications network. Especially at Mars, there are often many spacecraft within the beam width of an antenna. For operational efficiency, a single antenna can receive signals from multiple spacecraft at the same time.

However, apertures cannot currently be shared for uplink. When two or more high power carriers are used simultaneously, very high order intermodulation products fall in the receiver bands, causing interference to the much 25 orders of magnitude weaker received signals. The DSN forms one portion of the radio sciences experiment included on most deep space missions, where radio links between spacecraft and Earth are used to investigate planetary science, space physics and fundamental physics.

The experiments include radio occultations, gravity field determination and celestial mechanics, bistatic scattering, doppler wind experiments, solar corona characterization, and tests of fundamental physics. For example, the Deep Space Network forms one component of the gravity science experiment on Juno. This includes special communication hardware on Juno and uses its communication system. REX received a signal from Earth as it was occulted by Pluto to take various measurements of that systems of bodies.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. For other uses, see Deep Space Network disambiguation. For the network of low cost interplanetary trajectories, see Interplanetary Transport Network. Main article: Space Flight Operations Facility.

Further information: History of the Deep Space Network. Washington, D. Government Printing Office. Retrieved Archived from the original on Archived from the original on 17 February Retrieved 26 January Renzetti May Les Deutsch. Since the first satellite launched 61 years ago, spacecraft have relied on radio waves to communicate with Earth. But radio has its limitations. Facing a constant barrage of beeps and bits from an increasingly busy — and multinational — solar system, NASA and other space agencies are studying how to shore up and speed up space communications.

A sort of multifaceted public works project is under way to get space telecommunications into, well, the space age. But things get a lot more complicated when you leave Earth. Radio waves become diffuse as they spread across great distances, so transmissions require lots of power and large antennas. And it just takes a long time for them to travel a long way. We can receive 1. From Pluto, 7. We can send robots beyond the outer reaches of the solar system, but they still communicate essentially at dial-up speeds.

In response, Lichten said, NASA made a host of upgrades and changes to deal with the load, including working with other countries and with Morehead State University, in Kentucky, to use their antennas as necessary. Peraton and NASA recently developed a program that equips each antenna with four separate deep space receivers so that one antenna can do the work of four. Spacecraft can call home simultaneously, and software sorts out competing streams of data. Even better solutions are in the works.

About Canberra Deep Space Communication Complex

Future spacecraft might have their own small relay stations, making it easier for them to wait on hold if necessary. The InSight Mars lander will study the interior and history of the planet when it arrives Nov. Usually, when a mission like InSight is preparing to land, it would use the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter or Mars Odyssey orbiter as a relay station to Earth.

The Mars Cube One satellites are If all goes well, similar tiny, inexpensive relays could be used to monitor new missions on Mars or the moon, where orbiters are scarce and often overworked, lacking the time or bandwidth to serve as dispatchers. While radio antennas remain the backbone of space communications — for now — the future is in lasers.

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