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Questions tagged [communication]

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

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Are Martian winds as strong as portrayed in “The Martian”?

I read Andy Weir's "The Martian" and saw the movie, which is supposed to be realistic science fiction. And I immediately saw a couple of huge flaws, one of which I'd like to tackle with this question: ...
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What's the current timeline for NASA's Mars orbiter laser communications?

Dr. Jim Green, Director, NASA Planetary Science Division, mentioned during his "The Martian": Science Fiction & Science Fact talk for the 18th Annual International Mars Society Convention (you can ...
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2answers
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Efficiency of communications between spacecraft and control center

In space vehicle control and fault recovery, how it works is that a big brother copy is on the ground and being fed with most recent data from spacecraft, the little brother. This ground one is an ...
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Where are the pictures during the time the pictures are sent from space to home?

Obviously the pics aren't floating around, but how can I explain this to a 10 year old?
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Spot size of interplanetary communications [duplicate]

From what I know, to communicate with Earth, a space probe locates signals sent from Earth and then sends data (in that direction). For probes that are several light hours away (Voyagers, New Horizons)...
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1answer
436 views

Why is the file transfer speed of New Horizon so slow? [duplicate]

The transmitting speed of the New Horizon probe is $4$ kb/s. Thus, NASA states that it will take around 16 months to download all of the data that the probe gathered in its flyby. Why is this? P.S. ...
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1answer
857 views

Error detection and correction techniques on New Horizons data

As New Horizon's signal is so weak, probability exists of errors in detected signal. What error detection and correction codes are used in the signal? Is it known, what is the error rate in received ...
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1answer
424 views

How long did New Horizons take to upload all of its data from the Jupiter encounter?

It's a pretty well known fact among the regulars of this site that New Horizons will take up to 18 months to completely upload the data from the Pluto encounter. When it was at Jupiter, it was much ...
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How can we form a data-communication relay chain for deep space exploration?

The power that deep space probes have allows an RF communication capacity of a few kbps from a range like Pluto-Earth. If we go into optics, the range will be better. But, of course, we want to send ...
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1answer
524 views

What is the modulation technique and what is the coding technique used to send information from the New Horizons spacecraft?

I would like to know what is the modulation technique used on the New Horizons Spacecraft? Is it BPSK or GMSK? Also what is the coding technique-turbo-codes or LDPC codes? And do you have a link ...
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Why are space probes / satellites data rates so low? [duplicate]

The New Horizon's data transfer rate is only about 2kbps right now. At its peak the rate was 38kbps. Why is this transfer rate so slow? Is this due to using radio waves, limitations in the data relay, ...
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3answers
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Is it possible to have a satellite that bounces data back from sattelites farther out in the solar system?

Say we put a satellite in orbit around Neptune or Uranus that simply stores and sends data back to earth? Like as a big range extender for missions like New Horizons that work so far out that ...
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1answer
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How is a space probe's antenna directed toward Earth?

I wonder how is it possible to direct the probe's antenna from enormous distances (like Pluto) toward the Earth. Because if even an extremely small inclination in antenna direction emerge, it will ...
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2answers
282 views

How will Enceladus' ice-burrowing probe communicate?

I've heard a lot of people talk about sending a probe to Enceladus (one of Saturn's natural satellites). It would drill (or melt ice) to burrow through the thick layer of ice and get to the water ...
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How precise must be the antenna orientation to communicate with a deep space probe?

I guess that everyone is familiar with the problem of aligning a TV satellite dish: some degrees off and the signal you desire is gone. How sensitive is communication with deep space probes to this ...
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What type of data did New Horizons send to Earth in order to diagnose the switch to Safe Mode issue?

Recently, the New Horizons spacecraft on its way to Pluto suffered a "hard-to-detect timing flaw in the spacecraft command sequence." Does that mean that it was a multi-threading error or something ...
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Is it possible to make an Internet of Things device that works locally on Mars?

I know this is a weird question. I can't find a radiation hardened microcontroller (μC) that does Bluetooth Low Energy or even WiFi. Is there any reason this would not work on Mars, if a radiation ...
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Why wasn't there a communication delay when Neil Armstrong landed on the moon? [closed]

My understanding is that there was supposed to be a delay between the communication from the moon to Earth. Why were the communication instantaneous?
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1answer
399 views

Emergency plan for Soyuz missions

Recent ISS Cargo delivery via Progress ship was a failure, and it seems that Russian mission control lost the cargo ship completely. Since Progress ship is basically the same design as Soyuz: What ...
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3answers
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Which lagrange (earth-moon) point is better for a space settlement?

Which among the Earth-Moon Lagrange points (EML1, EML2, EML3, EML4, EML5) is best for a permanent space settlement which requires materials from the moon for construction? Some say it's EML4 for ...
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1answer
419 views

Were the Voyager Golden Record / Arecibo message tested for decodability

I was wondering if the microgroove golden records they put on the Voyager spacecraft, or the Arecibo message, along with instruction on how to decode it, were first put to the test with the subjects ...
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1answer
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Could a planet, moon, or comet having a high concentration of a certain metal disrupt radio transmission?

I have been researching how metals affect radio transmission but have not found anything conclusive to the specific scope about planet density if it is mostly metal. One of the posts that I found ...
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Cubesat communication services

Is there any known web-based API services that provide downlink/uplink testing facilities to some Cubesat? I don't want to have full hardware setup: antenna, sdr, auxiliary equipment. In same time, ...
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3answers
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Why do ISS astronauts use lower quality microphones for official radio communication than for PR events?

In the first seconds of this video you can see/hear ISS astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti prepare for a PR event: During the preparation she uses two different ...
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1answer
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Range Measurement from Range signal downlink

How is accurate time of round-travel determined from downlinked ranging signal? AFAIK Ranging signal, used to determine distance of a spacecraft is usually a reference wave modulated and uplinked, ...
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816 views

Why aren't landers designed to point their solar panels and radio antennas to Sun and Earth?

Opportunity, the rover on Mars, is on its tenth year. Wow! But its solar panels are fixed flat on top of it. As are those of all interplanetary landers which I know of. Why aren't they designed to ...
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Why can't infomation be transmitted during descent?

Apparently, no information could pass through plasma, therefore during descent of spacecraft, no information can be transmitted. Why so?
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331 views

How useful could lighter-than-air tethered balloons be on Mars for radio and navigation?

I was reading in 'How could one navigate on Mars' about communications satellites, and it got me thinking about radio relay and navigation infrastructure. Pure nitrogen is an inert lifting gas in the ...
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1answer
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Would it be practical to use a rover with a cable to a power and communication station?

Geology Dr. Paul Spudis (who was on the Clementine Lunar orbiter mission) has an interesting step-by-step proposal for exploration of potentially extractable water ice at the Lunar poles. It includes ...
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1answer
551 views

Can I use Iridium as a receiver network for my satellite?

One of the operational costs for a satellite in orbit is maintaining a receiver ground station. Would it be feasible to send an Iridium transceiver along with my satellite, and then operate it from my ...
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1answer
698 views

Communication Blackout

All the atmospheric entry missions endure a communication blackout. What parameters except plasma penetration frequency affect the blackout time and how ? Also, Comm Blackout states that space ...
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2answers
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What bitrates are currently achievable for communication with interplanetary space probes?

In communication with interplanetary space probes, it is clear that one has to take the delay caused by speed of light into account. Besides that, what are current limits for the data upload and ...
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Did the tail of Siding Spring distort communication between Mars, and Earth?

This article writes to say There was an hour’s communication blackout during the comet’s fly-by ... What happened here? Did the tail of Siding Spring serve to block/distort communication between ...
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What is the intensity of radio noise around Jupiter and Saturn?

What is the intensity of radio noise around Jupiter or Saturn on various frequencies compared to Earth? Does it significantly affect bandwidth for communication of satellites around Jupiter/Saturn ...
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Is there a means to communicate with robots on/around Mars whilst the Sun is between Mars & Earth?

A brief follow-up to What will MOM do when Earth isn't looking? As already premised in the referenced question; terrestrial artifacts on/around Mars encounter a communications blackout every 26 ...
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What will MOM do when Earth isn't looking?

A quick follow-up to Is each instrument on ISRO MOM independently in 24x7 contact with Earth? Every 26 months Sol interposes to occult Earth from the gaze of the Warlord. The last time this occurred ...
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Is each instrument on ISRO MOM independently in 24x7 contact with Earth?

The ISRO Mars Orbiter Mission web-site writes to say Mars Orbiter Mission carries five scientific payloads to observe Martian surface, atmosphere and exosphere extending up to 80,000 km for a ...
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How does NASA get information from space probes?

So I have briefly gone over answers to how things are stored as from this answer: https://space.stackexchange.com/a/2273/1247 but how is the information sent back? I'm thinking of probes like the ...
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Is it possible to communicate in space while the sun is between parties?

If a hypothetical space colony were on the other side of the sun from earth, would it be possible for them to communicate? If so how would this work? The only thing I can think of would be bouncing ...
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How do non-Earth-facing vehicles communicate with Earth?

I know that many artificial satellites are tide-locked with Earth, which allows them to always face a directional antenna towards their ground station. But some vehicles, such as space telescopes, and ...
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Is long range radio communication possible on the lunar surface?

There are such things as moon-bounce communication whereby radio signals are 'bounced' off the lunar surface to a distant location on Earth. This mechanism may be likened to the way a mirror reflects ...
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1answer
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Do astronauts go on a random banter with mission control like in the film 'Gravity'?

In the film 'Gravity', astronauts can be seen having casual chat with mission control. Do astronauts do that in real life? Do they have any specific policy that states what can be communicated over ...
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How big is Earth's sphere of broadcast influence?

The question Interstellar eavesdropping points out that we have been broadcasting to space for a long time, currently we are approaching a century. This means every star system in within 100 light ...
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Equipment needed to contact ICE/ISEE3 Spaceraft

A few days ago, I was reading the wikipedia entry for the International Cometary Explorer (ICE) / International Sun-Earth Explorer 3 (ISEE-3) satellite, that was launched August 12, 1978. Down near ...
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3answers
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Is there any way to communicate with Pioneer 11 through Voyager 1 or 2?

The position of Pioneer 11 is between Voyager 1 and 2, that means Pioneer 11 is closer to Voyager 1 and 2 than to Earth. According to the Wikipedia article on Pioneer 11 we lost communication with it ...
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1answer
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What evidence would be needed to determine a signal was artificial in origin?

Humanity has received some odd signals in the past. We've also sent out some signals ourselves. How could we determine that a signal we'd received was artificial in origin? Or of course inversely, ...
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Has Earth ever sent out a repeating signal into space?

My understanding is that for us to confirm that a signal is of artificial origin, we have to get the same signal at least twice. However, as far as I can tell, most of the signals we've sent out to ...
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How does radar calibration using LEO orbited calibration spheres work?

On December 28, 2013 two Russian SKRL-756 calibration sphere satellites will be launched during the maiden flight of the Soyuz-2.1v, a brand new lightweight derivative of the Soyuz launch vehicle, ...
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How many space-craft can a station on the DSN communicate with concurrently?

A bit of spin on Which LEO missions are currently supported by NASA's DSN (and why)? is what I have in mind. The Deep Space Network home-page writes to say Each complex consists of at least ...
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Which LEO missions are currently supported by NASA's DSN (and why)?

NASA's Deep Space Network, a collection of antennae throughout the globe, is sometimes used to support earth-orbiting missions: The NASA Deep Space Network - or DSN - is an international network of ...