If you haven't seen it, you can monitor the status of the Deep Space Network's radio dishes (which communicate with pretty much all of our space probes and satellites) from this website. At times, there will be dishes which have a three or four letter code that doesn't correspond to any space mission, and the description is merely "Testing." For example, I have seen 'TEST', 'MCOB', and 'SGP' all used as Testing codes. Does anyone know what these different codes may mean?

I did send an email to the DSN Now contact address a few weeks ago, but have yet to receive a response.


1 Answer 1


I found these in the DSN's contact list:
SGP: NASA's Space Geodesy Programme. From the NTRS:

Although the prime purpose of the DSN is to support spacecraft operations and space research in deep space, this unique facility is also used on a noninterference basis with flight projects to support ground-based science experiments. The DSN VLBI capabilities are an integral part of a number of space- and ground-based projects.

MCOA and MCOB: Mars Cubesat One-A,B. I've no idea what a mission that hasn't been launched yet would do with DSN time, though.

  • $\begingroup$ That's a very useful list! How did you find it? Although, right now I see "DSS" on a telescope, and I can't find that on the list. Also, it looks like there are several missions on the list that haven't been launched yet. I think that they're on there so that people are aware of them, and the operators have been assigned. $\endgroup$
    – Phiteros
    Apr 21, 2016 at 16:55
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ DSS is just the antenna name (DSS-14 for example). $\endgroup$
    – Hobbes
    Apr 21, 2016 at 17:28

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