Discussion at this answer to Why does DSN sometimes uses two dishes at the same time to receive Voyager-1? include the possibility that in some cases it would be preferable to use two 34 meter DSN dishes instead of one 70 meter dish, and if a 70 meter dish somehow reached end of life it would be replaced by two 34 meter dishes that would also be lower cost to operate.

The primary goal of this question is to address the usage aspects rather than the operation costs or the likelihood that a 70 meter dish would "wear out" any time soon. But one is welcome to touch on those too.

Question: Given three different configurations:

  1. One 70 meter DSN dish
  2. Two co-located 34 meter DSN dishes
  3. Two 34 meter DSN dishes at different sites

what are the tradeoffs between them, and under which circumstances or usage scenarios are each the best or worst option?

Related questions and answers likely helpful to support answers here:

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ The use of the Soviet analogs of these radio telescopes (P-2500 = 70m, P-400 - 32m) was purely economic. The cost of operating a small antenna is less than that of a large antenna. In most interplanetary flights, a small antenna was used. And at a distance of the orbit of Mars, Venus, a large antenna was connected to work. For those modes where it was necessary to transmit information at high speed, for example, take photos. $\endgroup$
    – A. Rumlin
    Aug 6, 2021 at 17:02


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