The NASA Deep Space Network is a means to get a 360 view of the heavens from zenith to nadir. The NASA DSN complexes were functional as of 1965 providing support to the Apollo Program. More recently ISRO MOM appears to rely upon the NASA DSN too. Ergo, one receives the impression a DSN is essential to deep-space missions.

  • Did the Soviet deep-space missions (looks like there were more Soviet missions than NASA/others) piggy-back on the NASA DSN?

  • What was the Soviet counterpart to the NASA DSN?

    • Where were their complexes located?

1 Answer 1


Soviet and Russian deep space missions did not use NASA's DSN. The major antennas were all located in Soviet territory: Crimea, Moscow and Ussuriysk, spanning longitudes from 33 to 132 degrees east and allowing access to almost 270 of the possible 360 degrees of right ascension at any time.

Rather than using monolithic 70-meter parabolic antennas similar to the US DSN, the first antennas of the Soviet DSN were built from eight 16-meter dishes placed on two hulls of diesel submarines, welded together and laid down on railway bridge trusses. These trusses were mounted on bearings from battleship gun turrets.

Pluton antenna Image credit: Rumlin CC-BY-SA

Later, more traditional 64-meter and 70-meter antennas were constructed.



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