Thursday, February 22

NASA’s Deep Space Network Turns 60 and Prepares for the Future

The firm’s DSN supplies crucial interactions and navigation services to lots of area objectives, and it’s being updated to support lots more.

NASA’s Deep Space Network marks its 60th year on Dec. 24. In constant operations because 1963, the DSN is what makes it possible for NASA to interact with spacecraft at or beyond the Moon. The stunning stellar images recorded by the James Webb Space Telescope, the advanced science information being returned from Mars by the Perseverance rover, and the historical images sent out from the far side of the Moon by Artemis I– they all reached Earth by means of the network’s huge radio meal antennas.

Throughout 2024, these and other historical contributions from the previous 60 years will be commemorated by NASA’s Space Communications and Navigation (SCaN) program, which handles and directs the ground-based centers and services that the DSN offers.

More than 40 objectives depend upon the network, which is anticipated to support two times that number in the coming years. That’s why NASA is wanting to the future by broadening and updating this important international facilities with brand-new meals, brand-new innovations, and brand-new techniques.

“The DSN is the heart of NASA– it has the crucial task of keeping the information streaming in between Earth and area,” stated Philip Baldwin, acting director of the network services department for SCaN at NASA Headquarters in Washington. “But to support our growing portfolio of robotic objectives, and now the human Artemis objectives to the Moon, we require to press forward with the next stage of DSN modernization.”

Satisfying Added Demands

Handled by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California for SCaN, the DSN permits objectives to track, send out commands to, and get clinical information from far spacecraft. To make sure those spacecraft can constantly get in touch with Earth, the DSN’s 14 antennas are divided in between 3 complexes spaced similarly around the globe– in Goldstone, California; Canberra, Australia; and Madrid, Spain.

The Deep Space Network is far more than a deep area messaging service. Find out more about how the DSN performs radio and gravity science experiments throughout the planetary system. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

To make certain the network can take full advantage of protection in between numerous objectives, schedulers deal with DSN staff member to protect network assistance for crucial operations. For more effectiveness, NASA has actually likewise altered how the network is run: With a procedure called “Follow the Sun,” each complex takes turns running the whole network throughout their day shift and after that hands off control to the next complex at the end of the day because area– basically, an international relay race that happens every 24 hours. The expense savings, in turn, assistance fund DSN improvements.

At the exact same time, NASA has actually been hectic making enhancements to increase capability, from updating and including meals to establishing brand-new innovations that will assist support more spacecraft and drastically increase the quantity of information that can be provided.

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