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Questions tagged [communication]

Questions regarding information transfer between spacecraft, and between spacecraft and Earth.

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Why were the antennas on the spherical surface of some early satellites spiral-shaped?

In the question What's the spiral pattern on this satellite? I show this image of a spiral-shaped pattern on the spherical surface of a (presumably) vintage satellite or model thereof. @OrganicMarble'...
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Can we detect the cell phone, satellite phone, or walkie talkie of someone walking on Mars from Earth?

We certainly cannot see a person walking on Mars from Earth. But what if the person is trying to use a cell phone, walkie talkie, or satellite phone? Although he won't have much luck using any of ...
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Is telerobotic surgery logistically feasible in orbit?

A recent comment said telerobotic surgery might be used in space, a follow up comment said that multiple minute light delays would complicate it. But I wonder if just the fact that being in orbit, ...
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What is astronaut Alexander Gerst signaling with this hand signal?

In this AP/WISN news item Air leak at International Space Station temporarily plugged by a thumb they show a file photo of German astronaut Alexander Gerst at the Baikonur cosmodrome, making what ...
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What are the prospects for comms with cubesats using “normal” internet connections?

Can a cubesat in orbit be operated like a R/C airplane in real time? edit: if the link here and the end aren't clear, I'm interested in the ease and convenience of access, the frequency of possible ...
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1answer
263 views

Why are polar codes not being used in space communications (error correction)?

From what I have read, satellite communications work mostly using turbo codes since the 90s, but most recently (2009) the polar codes were developed, which seem to be also faster and easier to ...
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80 views

Synchronizing spacecraft communication

When NASA is giving commands to a distant spacecraft like Juno, how is that done in terms of timing and protocol? For example do they: give a command to burn for 15 seconds upon receiving the ...
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131 views

How will the Exomars rover communicate back to Earth?

I see here that the Exomars rover has only two UHF monopole antennas. Two UHF monopole antennas are used to communicate with Mars orbiters, including the Trace Gas Orbiter. Does it mean that it ...
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1answer
430 views

What will China's new “space station” in Argentinian Patagonia be used for?

The New York Times (fairly strongly worded) article From a Space Station in Argentina, China Expands Its Reach in Latin America describes a "space station" or base equipped with (among other things) a ...
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1answer
167 views

Deep Space Network time budgets per spacecraft - is such statistics available?

Is statistics available about time consumed by different spacecraft for communication wint NASA Deep Space Network (DSN)? It would be interesting to compare which space missions are more downlink-...
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How did NASA prevent third parties from spoofing Apollo communications?

The Apollo crews transmitted footage to Earth using SSTV, a ham radio technique that amateurs and pirates can use to send similar messages around the world. Did NASA have any technical ...
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1answer
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What nodes were used to send a NASA selfie from Antarctica to the ISS?

The November 29, 2017 NASA video Future-Proofing the Interplanetary Internet says: In a recent demonstration of the technology, NASA sent a selfie from Antarctica to the space station, making ...
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117 views

Relativistic effects in space mission communications

How important are relativistic effects in communication with space missions? I am doing some work on Mars Pathfinder and want to know if effects like gravitational deflection of microwaves matter in ...
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101 views

Laser communication for interplanetary probes - aiming is impossible without beacon?

Laser communications are considered very promising for interplanetary probes because of potentially much higher data rates. I found that laser communication at large distances (over 3 a.u. ~ 450 ...
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1answer
76 views

Data from Cubesat as web API

I’m doing some research for possible cubesat mission and I spent days on the internet and in books trying to find a simple answer to my dumb question. I’m completely new in this field so I’m not sure ...
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2answers
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Why is SES-12 "…basically two satellites in one…”?

The Florida Today article On second flight, SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket to launch 'brute' of a satellite from Cape describes the upcoming SpaceX launch of SES-12. At roughly 12,000 pounds, the SES-12 ...
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1answer
119 views

Attitude requirements for inter-satellite laser communication

Previous questions have address the beam divergence angles and the expected signal attenuation for laser communication between spacecraft. However, I was wondering what is a typical receiver aperture ...
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1answer
184 views

Why is Queqiao's dish antenna so big? (Chang'e-4 relay satellite) Largest ever on/near the Moon?

The NASA Spaceflight article Queqiao relay satellite launched ahead of Chang’e-4 lunar mission describes the communications relay satellite that will be used to communicate with Chang'e-4, which will ...
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Why is Sentinel 3B's dish antenna overwrapped with metallized film?

The Spaceflight Now article Photos: Sentinel 3B satellite prepared for launch from Plesetsk Cosmodrome has of course lots of photos. One of them shows a dish antenna covered with shiny, metallized ...
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Feasibility of Interstellar Probe Communication

So, I understand that to transmit information across interstellar distances, you need to use a lot of power (or less bandwidth?), something for example a small space probe wouldn't exactly have. If we ...
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1answer
57 views

Is communication from a spacecraft in SEL1 disturbed by the Sun?

A spacecraft at the Sun Earth Lagrange point one (1% of an AU, or one Solar diameter, from Earth towards the Sun) would have the Sun as its background. Is the Sun emitting strongly enough at ...
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2answers
138 views

Stethoscope as a backup communication device

I'm curious about the use of stethoscopes as a backup communication source. This would be used between two spacecrafts, such as 2 astronauts in spacesuits, and help bridge the vacuum between them. ...
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371 views

Is it possible for Curiosity to broadcast live HD television from Mars to Earth?

Current Mars rovers collect large amounts of data and image sequences on Mars and store them in memory, and usually they then transfer the data to a spacecraft in Mars orbit for rebroadcast to Earth ...
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1answer
108 views

Was the Orbit Pavilion triggered by real communications events?

The October 2016 NASA JPL news article Art Turns Public Eyes (and Ears) Toward Space describes an artistic interpretation of the communications between a number of NASA Earth satellites and ground ...
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Do satellite uplink/downlink signals spread or leak into space?

Satellite communication generally involves three types of nodes: the ground station (also known as teleport), the satellite in geosynchronous orbit, and the satellite receiver/transceiver. I am ...
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Was Houston able to control to the Apollo spacecraft if needed? [duplicate]

Was every aspect of a flight, aside from liftoff, solely the responsibility of the crew? Or was Houston able to command parts of the spacecraft and its computers remotely in an emergency or if ...
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First call to the moon 1969

During the Apollo 11 mission to the moon, there was a phone call where the POTUS at that time, Richard Nixon, was able to speak to astronauts Neil Armstrong and "Buzz" Aldrin. How was this possible?
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Frequency and modulation mode(s) for the SpaceX Tesla roadster mass in space

As an Electrical Engineer (emphasis in RF and radar, class of '74) who has followed the space program(s) since Mercury, and a prior flight test telemetry engineer, I was wondering if anyone knows what ...
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1answer
550 views

Why would SpaceX limit Starman’s Tesla signal transmission to 12 hours and not use solar power? [duplicate]

I'm as smitten as everyone else by Elon’s Starman cruisin' his Tesla through the cosmos. But I'm even more curious why we were limited to a signal transmission architecture with a mere 12-hour life ...
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568 views

How did the communication work between the SpaceX Tesla and Earth?

With a Tesla launched in space and HD cameras put on it, I can imagine its not easy to receive a signal from that slowly spinning, multiple ten-thousand km away new artificial object in our solar ...
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3answers
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Will the Tesla Roadster return any telemetry?

Is there any equipment fitted to the Tesla Roadster to send signals back to Earth, even for a short time after launch?
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84 views

How long is a satellite orbiting at 300 miles going to be visible from horizon to horizon?

Elon Musk has a plan for satellite internet that involves LEO and VLEO satellites. The question I have is how long would a satellite at these altitudes actually be within range before having to ...
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How to design a ground antenna for sending & receiving from a satellite?

Let's suppose there is a wifi router or a cell phone or similar transmitter in an orbit of 3000 km. How could one make a dish antenna to connect and receive the signal from that wifi router or cell ...
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Apollo 17; what is a barber pole, and what did “it is gray” mean?

Following the links in this comment by @Uwe I've found some interesting sources of information on Ham (amateur) radio operators trying to listen in on Apollo transmissions. At the bottom of Sven ...
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1answer
434 views

Difference in communication delay on ISS

What cause the difference in communication delay, about 11 seconds in this video: and apparently almost no delay on this one: ...
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86 views

How many ways of communication with ground can ISS crew use?

I'm currently writing fictional story which is happening at ISS and I have so many questions about this topic, but this one is the most important to me. How many possibilities of communication they ...
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63 views

How to determine an available planetary communication window using orbital mechanics?

For class I have an orbit around Mars at an inclination of 63.4 deg and a base site of 55 deg North and was wondering how to work out the communication window, using orbital mechanics. Orbital ...
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1answer
171 views

Why were Sónar Calling GJ273b messages called secret?

Sónar Calling GJ273b is in the news, at the time of this question, for sending messages into space in an attempt to contact aliens. Some news sites are calling the messages "secret". Does anyone know ...
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Are there any protocols the space station follows if there is an Earth-wide catastrophe?

Are there any protocols the space station (or any space explorer) follows if there is a massive catastrophe on Earth where the responsive parties on the ground would not be available for support/...
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639 views

Would adding satellites between Earth and Mars improve communications latency?

Would adding satellites along the path from Earth to Mars decrease the amount of time it takes to send and receive messages between them?
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181 views

What does the ISS Mission control center do?

This related question asks about Mission Control's responsibilities during a hurricane. But there's a more general question underneath: what do the people in Mission Control do, what are their ...
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115 views

Does SETI perform search of extremely low bandwidth signals?

Sending a signal at interstellar distance requires enormous power - something of order not too far from energies of the stars. Even if we harness the power of stars, modulating that signal would take ...
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What is this NASA Spaceflight article trying to explain?

The NASA Spaceflight article Extended Russian EVA complete – conducts satellite deployments contains a very long discussion about the timing of the CRS-12 launch. Had it missed the "single shot launch ...
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Can we “Communicate” with Tau Ceti?

It seems like four earth-like planets were found near Tau Ceti as per this article A new study by an international team of astronomers reveals that four Earth-sized planets orbit the nearest sun-...
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Terminology for CubeSat telecommunications

I'm looking at a brochure for the Iris V2 Deep Space Transponder by JPL. At the end of the brochure there is some data on suggested antennas. For each antenna the bps at approximately 1 AU is shown ...
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What is a transmitting radio telescope's peak power consumption?

I am currently designing specifications for a human-inhabited station on Mars. Said station would require communications with Earth, to do so requires power. Apparently, a radio telescope is capable ...
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Space Shuttle “go at throttle up”

On all of the launch videos and recordings for the Space Shuttle, the mention is made from Houston (after getting through Max-Q) of "go at throttle up", indicating that the launch is ok for going back ...
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How many antennas does Kurz use in toto, and what are each of their functions?

I learned about the Kurz docking system in this answer, then found out what they looked like in this and in this answer. Those images show several tiny dish antenna structures sticking out from ...
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Signals to a deep space network

First of all, sorry for the general context of the question but I’m very inexperienced. I hope I'm not breaking the rules. Simplifying, in the short sci-fi novel I’m writing there’s a super-...
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Will there be “Near Space” Ka band allocations for TESS?

update: More information in Phys.org's news item TESS mission to discover new planets moves toward launch, including a video of the telescope array's final assembly. Also see GSFC's TESS page. The ...