Question: In terms of satellite networks What exactly are RTSWnet/AFSCN and CDAS (NEN, DSN as needed)? Are they like TDRS but for strictly military data?


In this answer to Why Are EPIC/DSCOVR Images delayed for a day? I discussed that DSCOVR's space weather data is sent to Earth in near-real time:

According to eoPortal's DSCOVR (Deep Space Climate Observatory):

Sensor complement: (EPIC, NISTAR, PlasMag instrument suite, PHA)

The primary objective of the sensor complement is to measure the solar wind (np, vp, tp) and the interplanetary magnetic field at 240 RE forward of the Earth.

The DSCOVR solar wind/IMF data will be downlinked to the Real Time Solar Wind Network (RTSWnet). 57)

Secondary mission objectives: Earth observations. The Earth viewing instruments on DSCOVR have a continuous view of the entire sunlit face of the Earth.

57: Changing of the Guard: Satellite Will Warn Earth of Solar Storms

You can see that the EPICS image data is downlinked to Wallops, from which DSCOVR might only be high enough in the sky for 8 hours a day or less in the winter, depending on its position within its Lissajous orbit around L2. So image downlinking will not be real near time.

However the mission-critical Space Weather is downlinked via RTSWnet/AFSCN (Real Time Solar Wind net/Air Force Satellite Control Network; a division of Space Force!))

Here's some Real Time Solar Wind data.

Space/Ground communications normal operations (image credit: NASA, NOAA)

Figure 38: Space/Ground communications normal operations (image credit: NASA, NOAA)

Also, from Spaceflight 101's DSCOVR there is this graphic showing RTSWnet/CDAS (NEN, DSN as needed)

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