Questions tagged [deep-space-network]

Deep Space Network is a series of communication antennas around the world used for communication with deep space spacecraft.

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What happened to Voyager 2's tracking loop capacitor? How did it get damaged? What is it for? What's a tracking loop anyway?

On 23-Aug-2021 Voyager 2 tweeted: DSN antenna DSS-43 at @CanberraDSN is starting a 300 min listen to hear the echo of a command tone sent up to me 35 hours ago. This will define the "Best Lock ...
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Just how raw is the rawest signal data that the Deep Space Network routinely records for safety reasons?

When we watch videos of some Spacecraft landing there's a big screen with real-time plots of the data coming from the Deep Space Network's antennas. Presumably the information is recorded in fairly ...
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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 many communications channels can a single DSN dish maintain at the same time?

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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If the Voyagers' lowest playback speed is 7200 bits per second, how can it transmit to Earth at only 160 bps?

How to calculate data rate of Voyager 1? mention's Voyager's data rate is currently 160 bits per second, and clicking on a recent entry in the Voyager DSN Tracking Schedule on the Voyager Mission ...
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Is NASA's Deep Space Network possibly a backup link for China's Zhurong rover?

While the Tianwen-1 orbiter will dispense commands to the Zhurong rover, the Mars Express orbiter of the European Space Agency will serve as a backup. Wikipedia Since Mars Express normally ...
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Will there be a command moratorium for Mars spacecraft again in 2021?

About every two years, Earth and Mars are on opposite sides of the Sun (a Mars-solar conjunction). Plasma expelled from the Sun can interfere with radio transmissions between Mars spacecraft and the ...
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Can ESA control the two Voyager spacecraft?

This is such a dumb question. There are many space organizations. Let's take ESA for this case. Given the two Voyager spacecraft are transmitting a weak radio signal to the Earth, can ESA command and ...
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Why is the Deep Space Network now testing an asteroid redirection mission that hasn't launched yet?

The Double Asteroid Redirection Test is a planned demonstration of the ability of a spacecraft to impact into and redirect the path of an asteroid. The test is part of plans to develop a system to ...
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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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Effective bandwidth for Mars rovers to Earth

I'm interested in what the effective bandwidth is for, in particular, the Curiosity and Perseverance rovers back to Earth. By 'effective' I mean 'averaged over a sufficiently long period', so at least ...
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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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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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What is a Beam Waveguide dish and why do deep space communications stations use them?

NASA Spaceflight.com's Deep Space Network upgrades and new antennas increase vital communication capabilities says: NASA’s Deep Space Network, commonly referred to as the DSN, has welcomed a new dish,...
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How will the closure of the Arecibo dish impact deep space communications?

Earlier today, the U.S. National Science Foundation announced that it is decommissioning the Arecibo radio telescope. The 305 meter dish is famous for the 1974 message for extra-terrestrial ...
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Will future deep space optical communications "ground stations" actually be in space, or on the ground?

Deep space communications ground stations are on the ground because their transmit and receive electronics alone is bulky and heavy, not to mention their 34 and 70 meter dish antennas! But those ...
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Has Same Beam Interference (SBI) been used or at least tested at Mars? Are there plans to use it in the next few years?

Section 5.4 of Descanso I, Radiometric Tracking Techniques for Deep-Space Navigation by Catherine L. Thornton and James S. Border titled Future directions in Radiometric Tracking; Same Beam ...
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How does one test Ground Segment communications with, and "downlink" data from a spacecraft that's still on the ground?

NASA News item Ground Segment Testing a Success for NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope says: Testing teams have successfully completed a critical milestone focused on demonstrating that NASA’s James ...
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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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Is it common for the Deep Space Network to contact a TDRS satellite?

As I write this, one of the Madrid dishes of the Deep Space Network is in contact with TDRS satellite #13. I've never seen DSN contact a TDRS satellite before. I thought that system has its own ...
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In terms of satellite networks What exactly are RTSWnet/AFSCN and CDAS (NEN, DSN as needed)? Are they like TDRS but for strictly military data?

Question: In terms of satellite networks What exactly are RTSWnet/AFSCN and CDAS (NEN, DSN as needed)? Are they like TDRS but for strictly military data? BACKGROUND: In this answer to Why Are EPIC/...
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Exchange diameter for power in parabolic antenna

If I want to reduce the diameter of a satellite dish, how much power should I add to the transmitter? how is this formula? As I have already been informed a little in this other question I asked: X-...
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Why was Canberra able to listen to Voyager 2 but not talk to it?

The New York Times's When Voyager 2 Calls Home, Earth Soon Won’t Be Able to Answer explains that because Voyager 2's trajectory has taken it way below the ecliptic, of the three 70 meter dishes in the ...
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How can the download speed increase from space probes?

It always seems to be a genuine question that is How can we download data from far away probes in instant. When New Horizons reached Ultima Thule, it took us quite a few months to have a great picture ...
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Will CHEOPS use DSN or ESA ground stations, or both?

The new ESA video Cheops: Europe's exoplanet mission shows an animation of the space telescope communicating with a ground station somewhere in central Spain. The Deep Space Network indeed has a ...
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How is the data from the three DSN sites transmitted to JPL, NASA and vice-versa?

We know that there are three major Deep Space Network (DSN) sites on Earth, roughly $120^{\circ}$ apart, to communicate with space probes in deep space continuously. All the data from the three DSN ...
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What are the operating systems and network stack in the Chandrayaan - 2 vehicles?

I am trying to find the information about the operating systems that are run in all of the Chandrayaan - 2 vehicles, the orbiter, lander and Rover. Are these just firmwares? Or how are different ...
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How high is the first Deep Space Atomic Clock orbiting? Does it receive radiation equivalent to that in deep space?

The Livescience article NASA's Tiny New Atomic Clock Could Let Spacecraft Drive Themselves in Deep Space says: But the radiation still changes the way the electronics operate. And those changes ...
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Chandrayaan-2 orbiter and lander communications with Earth (IDSN)

In the Seeker video India Could Be the First to Land on the Moon’s South Pole a bit after 04:20 the narrator says: Okay, well right about now you’re probably ...
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Why does NASA use higher frequencies even though they have worse Free Space Path Loss (FSPL)?

Looking at the Formula for FSPL we see that it increases with Frequency. Why is X-Band used for Deep Space Communications instead of lower bands like S-Band? Is it a question of data-rates? Is the ...
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Deep Space Network's transmitter power versus frequency?

Just a general question: In regards to the Deep Space Network antennas, how does power from the transmitter of the antenna relate to the frequency used? I believe the antennas use X band frequency for ...
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How does Deep Space Network's DSS-14 transmit radar and receive it at (almost) the same time? (monostatic radar)

@Hobbes' concise yet thorough answer to the question What are monostatic radar observations, and how will Deep Space Network's DSS-13 be used to observe asteroid 1999 WK4's flyby of Earth? tells us ...
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What are monostatic radar observations, and how will Deep Space Network's DSS-13 be used to observe asteroid 1999 WK4's flyby of Earth?

NASA JPL page https://echo.jpl.nasa.gov/asteroids/1999KW4/1999KW4_planning.2019.html says of the radar observations during the close approach of asteroid 1994 KW4 (in part): Update on 2019 May 22: A ...
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Does a deep space network benefit by having a diversity of latitudes?

When placing ground stations for a deep space communications network, there is a well-established benefit to spreading out the stations by longitude. In particular, having at least three stations ...
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How often has weather interfered with the Deep Space Network?

This answer provides some information about the potential that precipitation can interfere with signals of the Deep Space Network. In practice, how often (a count, ratio or percent) has weather ...
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Deep Space Network implementation?

I am interested in understanding the Deep Space Network (DSN), mainly from a network perspective and how it handles the challenges of high latency communication. On Earth, for example we can use ...
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If the ESA has its own deep space network, why does it use NASA's?

The European Space Agency has its own network for communicating for spacecraft in deep space, ESTRACK. It has stations distributed around the globe: Nonetheless, several ESA missions use NASA's Deep ...
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What is the numbering system used for the DSN dishes?

The title "What is the numbering system used for the DSN dishes?" pretty much sums it up. DSN dishes are referenced by seemingly arbitrary numbers: 14, 55, 36, etc... Do these numbers carry any ...
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What is considered a good SNR for satellites?

When performing a link budget for satellite communications, a key component is defining an acceptable signal-to-noise-ratio in order to obtain the necessary bit-rate. How does one determine what the ...
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If a MarCO-type CubeSat were in orbit around Bennu, what kind of power would it need to communicate with the Deep Space Network?

This is a follow-up question to: What is the lowest power signal that the DSN can detect? Essentially, I have determined that the asteroid Bennu (ranging from 25 to 350 million kilometers from Earth) ...
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What is the lowest power signal that the DSN can detect?

It is said that the Deep Space Network can detect low-power signals sent from Voyager in the range of 10^-16 W. I can't seem to find any sources that indicate what the minimum power requirement of a ...
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How did NASA's Deep Space Network encode and broadcast music to Opportunity?

@Ingolifs's answer to the question What was the last message to Opportunity today (13 Feb '19)? quotes ArsTechnica's Opportunity did not answer NASA’s final call, and it’s now lost to us: Late ...
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Understanding shape of DSN's 'kinky uplink protocol' keeping frequency in coherent transponder's optimum bandpass?

This tweet by deep space SDR enthusiast and amateur radio operator Edgar Kaiser @df2mz shows a squiggly tone from MRO. Mars Reconnaiscance Orbiter (MRO) X-band downlink. The signal shows this ...
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Why is the operating temperature for the Voyagers' receiver noise calculation about 1550K?

In line 10 of Table 5.2 of DESCANSO IV - Voyager Telecommunications it shows a value of the uplink receiver noise spectral density of -166.7 dBm/Hz, which is 196.7 dBW/Hz which is 2.1E-20 Watts/Hz = $...
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Did New Horizons use its smaller medium-gain antenna for most/all downlinking of Pluto and Arrokoth flyby data?

Brian May's New Horizons video (below) was released at about the same time that the New Horizons spacecraft passed 2014 MU69 Arrokoth and includes a lot of technically meaningful graphics. One item ...
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What happened to the plan to build a DSN antenna array?

More than ten years ago there were plans to build large antenna arrays for DSN, about 400 antennas of 12m diameter. See these NASA papers 1, 2, 3, 4. What happened to these plans?
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What kind of ground-based radio astronomy is NASA's DSN used for? Who are the PIs?

I looked at DNS Now to check on Hayabusa-2 and compare to http://haya2now.jp/en.html and saw that DSS 34 in Canberra is currently in setup/teardown for Ground Based Radio Astronomy! In this status ...
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How many hours each day is Mars reachable by 2 of the 3 DSN complexes?

NASA communicates with spacecraft beyond Earth orbit using the Deep Space Network, which has three complexes: Canberra, Australia; Goldstone, California; and Madrid, Spain. There are many spacecraft ...
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Understanding the information contained in the Deep Space Network XML data?

NASA's Deep Space Network activity can be viewed conveniently at https://eyes.nasa.gov/dsn/dsn.html but if you would like data in a more raw XML form, it can be accessed as described in this answer ...
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How does a third DSN station serves as a “relay” to tie-together observations by two other stations doing VLBI?

Section 2.1 of the DESCANSO document 211 Wideband Very-Long Baseline Interferometry (from here, found here) says: The precision of a VLBI measurement improves with the length of the baseline. The ...