Questions tagged [communication]

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

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16
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Has DSS-43 ever been used in high power mode (>>20 kW) for an emergency situation?

This answer notes that while most Deep Space Network transmitters are 20 kW of power or less, one dish (DSS-43 in Canberra) is equipped with a transmitter capable of 400 kW. As described in 101, 70-m ...
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Are there any selfies of Curiosity or Perseverance with their high gain antenna deployed and "looking up"?

The Curiosity and Perseverance rovers have high gain antenna arrays on a mechanical arm that can rise up and point towards Earth and communicate directly. Has the Curiosity rover ever communicated ...
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Currently, how many communications channels can a single DSN dish maintain at the same time? Are there plans to increase this in the future?

DSN NOW screenshot 2021-07-10 at 07:14 UTC DSN NOW screenshot 2021-07-10 at 09:48 UTC The screen shots show Canberra's Dish 35 simultaneously transmitting and receiving, and above it is written MRO, ...
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Do lunar rovers on the near side of the Moon need a relay communication satellite?

Wikipedia says direct communication is not possible from the far side of the moon. So I'm guessing it should be possible for the satellite to communicate directly without relay satellite from the near ...
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How will the LICIACube cubesat transmit DART impact images back to Earth? What kind of antenna and radio will it use?

MarCO The Mars Cube Ones or MarCOs were 6U cubesats that were deployed in deep space during the InSight mission to observe it during a critical, dynamic period of its mission, in this case the N ...
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How many independent demonstrations of optical communications between ground and space have been successful?

As everybody knows, the pioneering work of The Professor and his serendipitous collaborator Gilligan demonstrated the reality of ground to space optical communications back in 1964. In that case ...
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Two consecutive high profile Moon landings fail, any common threads?

For the second time in a few months, we have seen a Moon landing fail at the last moment as computer communications failed. The Beresheet failure is well addressed here; did a similar thing happen ...
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What is an "octet" in the context of NASA's LunaNET Interoperability Standard? ("internet on the Moon")

The PDF Draft LunaNet Interoperability Specification, LN-IS Baseline V001 September 2, 2021 (found at https://esc.gsfc.nasa.gov/projects/TEMPO?tab=lunanet) has found its way to the popular press. 4.2 ...
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Tracking of spacecrafts of the Mercury project

In the absence of any communication satellite in 1958, back in Mercury times, how did the tracking centers, which were spread world across, communicated with each other, passed on their data to the ...
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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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Is it possible for LEO satellites to detect a usable signal from regular mobile phones on the ground?

Background Recently I came across a company called ASTS that claims they will be able to launch LEO satellites with the capability to talk with regular mobile phones. I initially wrote their claims ...
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Modifying Starlink / Dragon for orbital communication

In this answer @uhoh notes: The Starlinks currently have three types of internet-related communication: downwards with customers fixed on the Earth's surface below the satellites (except an ...
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How deep could a gas giant communications network penetrate?

I have been wondering what type of communication network could you build to communicate as deep as possible into a gas giant such as Jupiter? Which technologies would you use at what depths? One could ...
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What did Intelsat-1 do in 1990 for its 25th anniversary brief reactivation? Could it be reactivated again? Is there a secret code?

Ouch! The 1960s From This Is What Broadband Satellite Communication Looked Like in 1965 The Intelsat 1 “Early Bird” communications satellite, built by Hughes Aircraft Co., was able to relay 240 ...
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How exactly did ground stations track the early Molniya satellites?

Wikipedia's Orbita (TV system) says: Orbita (Russian: орбита) is a Soviet-Russian system of broadcasting and delivering TV signals via satellites. It is considered to be the first national network of ...
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What is the range of frequencies of a deep space channel?

I've been trying to find the values of bandwidth of each Deep Space frequency channel: band S, X and Ka. In the official NASA's documents only appears the center frequency of each one, but it doesn't ...
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What connection do Mars rovers use to send data to Earth?

How do Mars rovers send data back to Earth? Do they have some kind of built in WI-FI routers or is there any other connection?
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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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Is the prompt relay of landing telemetry by the MarCo cubesats to Earth really a "first"?

The MarCo cubesats travelled from Earth to Mars alongside InSight and relayed signals from InSight (UHF) to Earth (X-band) during it's descent and landing on the surface of Mars. The NPR podcast and ...
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Why are satellite ground station and deep space communications dishes with secondary mirrors usually of Cassegrain design?

The simplest dish antennas have a concave reflector and their feed horns at the primary focus which is "up in the air". That has several inconveniences, it's hard to go up there to do any ...
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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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Was Dart antenna tested using a DSN antenna located in Australia?

So recently a tweet by a bot which tracks communications by the Deep Space Network stated that: DSS 43 receiving data from Double Asteroid Redirection Test at 312.5kb/s. IN LOCK IN LOCK 1 TURBO 11:11 ...
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Tradeoffs between using two 34 m and one 70 m Deep Space Network dish?

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 ...
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Does NASA's Deep Space Network sometimes listen to other space agencies' spacecraft "just for the heck of it" or other non-mission related reasons?

This answer mentions: It's well known that other countries routinely spy on each other (i.e. the NSA tapping of Angela Merkel's phone). NASA's Deep Space Network's space-related activities (like ...
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Cubesat half duplex communication stack

My understanding is that in half duplex transceivers, you are only able to either transmit or receive. In Cubesats using half duplex comms, which part of their communications stack is performing the ...
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Is Quantum Entanglement technology possible for interplanetary communication in future to achieve low real-time latency?

There is a small debate over the comment session in NASA Lands InSight on Mars video uploaded by JPL. The 1 minute and a half video is about the essential part of InSight's EDL event cropped out from ...
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Techniques for digital superluminal communication

Considering photons only travel at the speed of light (and cannot travel faster), our main technique of digital communication (at least I believe, but I could be wrong) is off the table. What ...
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What is astronaut Alexander Gerst signaling with this K-shaped 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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How (the heck) is it possible that with China's future 6G satellite network I'll be able to download 1000 movies per second?

The reasonably credible Wall Street Journal has a YouTube channel and the new video SpaceX vs. China: The Quest for Satellite Internet | WSJ says that with Starlink's data rate I can download a 1 Gb ...
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How are the tiny spacecraft proposed by Project Starshot supposed to communicate with Earth?

Between power limitations and aperture-limited diffraction I just can't see how it's possible.
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How is Prospero doing now? Was it really heard in 2004 and have there been recent attempts to contact it?

Screenshot from the excellent historical review in Curious Droid video Black Arrow : The Lipstick Rocket - A Very British Space Program with a photo of Prospero or at least a representation thereof. ...
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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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Why allow communication with interplanetary spacecraft to be silent for stretches of time; only getting updates on certain days & times of the week?

Communication between planetary bodies in space, e.g. from the moon, or Mars, takes a long time and has many shortcomings, like line of sight requirements. Communication with interplanetary spacecraft ...
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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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How Ingenuity ensures it does not fly away from the range of connection from Perseverance?

There must be a range after which Ingenuity cannot communicate with Perseverance. I am not sure what that distance is. How Ingenuity ensures it does not fly away out of that distance? If inadvertently ...
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Could amateur radio operators or others contact the ISS against NASA's wishes?

In real life, but more often in fiction, there are have been a number of examples of "Don't tell the crew" i.e. Mission control finding out about an issue and deciding that for whatever ...
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Closest distance at which cubesat (or comparable smallsat) has communicated with the Deep Space Network or any large 10+ meter dish? Cis-lunar ever?

Discussion below Will future deep space optical communications "ground stations" actually be in space, or on the ground? has got me wondering about the improbable situation where a giant ...
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What technology will SpaceX's StarLink satellites most likely use for sat-to-sat linking?

The question How does SpaceX plan to make money with StarLink Broadband? has got me thinking about how the satellites will link to each other. Wikipedia says it's something greater than 10,000 GHz and ...
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How well can Voyager 1 separate Earth signals from Solar noise these days?

This is a follow-up question to Can Voyager 1 receive signals from Earth? this and this answer. UPDATED: see additional information and discussion below. As it continues to move farther from the Sun, ...
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Specifications of a High Gain Antenna

I am designing a telecommunications device capable of redundant communication from Earth to Saturn's moon Enceladus which ranges from 8 to 11 AU from Earth. I have decided on an X-band high-gain ...
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Yet another OSIRIS! Has the DLR/GOM Space test of the cubesat optical communications link happened yet?

Speaking of "all things OSIRIS" I just ran across the OSIRIS optical communications system for cubesats and smallsats. OSIRIS (Optical Space Infrared Downlink System) highly compact optical ...
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Apollo communication between the Earth and Moon

How was it possible for astronauts to send back tv/radio signals to earth from the moon? I have just been teaching my son about waves behavior and understand that radio waves are reflected back to ...
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Could we use a narrow paradigm, say laser, to get info faster from New Horizons? (With a moon base.)

There was just a question (actually, on Astronomy) about why the data rate from New Horizons is low. Of course, even with the most directional radio antennas, the spread is enormous. I guess ...
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How large of an antenna would you need to connect to the ISS's WiFi network from Earth?

Supposing I wanted to connect to the ISS's WiFi network from the ground, how large of an antenna would I need to do so, and what kind? Would they need to increase the power on their end or use a ...
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How do the small radio receivers on space probes catch enough of a signal to communicate with us?

From Scientific American, March 2021: Optics. Traveling Photons. Joanna Thompson. Much of today's space communication relies on radio signals. But these diffract and broaden as they travel, as ...
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Are there plans or a program for an optical relay pathfinder for deep space?

In Glenn Research Center's Richard Reinhart's slides Space Communication and Navigation TestbedCommunications Technology for Exploration for the 2013 ISS Research and Development Conference I saw an ...
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Can anything at Mars speak 900 MHz ZigBee besides Ingenuity helicopter and Perseverance rover?

Interest is piqued by What could be strong arguments against Ingenuity following Perseverance at a safe distance when the flight test program has been a success? Question: Can anything at Mars ...
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How many antennas does Kurs use in toto, and what are each of their functions?

I learned about the Kurs 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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How many (presumably friendly) lasers are being shot at us from space? (pew! pew!)

A comment below @A.Rumlin's answer to Is there any spacecraft that is ping-able? links to a Facebook page (in Russian) which shows an astrophotographer's photograph of stars plus a big green flare ...
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How hard is it to receive direct signals from vehicles on the surface of Mars, and has anyone other than the DSN done so?

Almost all communication from vehicles on the surface of Mars is relayed by spacecraft in orbit around Mars. However vehicles on the surface do communicate directly with Earth. This communication, ...

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