I am interested in understanding the Deep Space Network (DSN), mainly from a network perspective and how it handles the challenges of high latency communication.

On Earth, for example we can use solutions such as TCP to ensure the packet was received or UDP if we don’t care if the packet was received.

With a deep space object, we need to be sure the data was received and interpreted (especially when we are talking about a software update) , so I am curious how the DSN deals with these challenges?

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    $\begingroup$ What protocol are you referring to? Each spacecraft has its own protocol. Do you mean the protocol used to co-ordinate he DSN? Which latency do you mean? latency is dependent on distance, since the signal travels at the speed of light. Thus its different for each spacecraft. I am not sure what kind of answer you are looking for, which aspects of the DSN do you want explained? $\endgroup$
    – Polygnome
    Apr 30, 2019 at 21:15
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    $\begingroup$ Welcome to Space! (1) There's more information on this topic than could fit in a book, much less a SE answer. (2) The technology has evolved considerably over decades. (3) As I discovered researching another person's DSN question, some information is accessible only to "authorized" persons. I would suggest looking at past questions with the deep-space-network tag, and if they still don't help, asking a more narrow question. $\endgroup$
    – DrSheldon
    Apr 30, 2019 at 21:43
  • $\begingroup$ See the link in the question When was the idea behind the DESCANSO Book Series first conceived, by whom, and what is it's “mission”? you can see there are indeed several books on the topic! $\endgroup$
    – uhoh
    May 1, 2019 at 4:42
  • $\begingroup$ I have updated the question. $\endgroup$
    – Andre M
    May 1, 2019 at 23:38

1 Answer 1


The Deep Space Network is not a network in deep space, it's a network on Earth of radio telescopes used to communicate with probes in deep space. There is little in the way of standardisation of communication with spacecraft -- each has its own scheme although a number of Mars missions use the same orbiter(s) as relays, so there must be some standard protocols there. Efforts have been made to design standardised protocols suitable for deep space use, notably the Interplanetary Internet.


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