NASA breaks ground on new communications antenna


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NASA has broken ground on the construction of the first new communications antenna since 2003 at its Goldstone, Californa, site, one of three the agency maintains worldwide for communicating with its planetary probes.

There has been a desperate need to both expand and upgrade this network, dubbed the Deep Space Network, for years, a need that will grow even more desperate next year with the addition of two more rovers on Mars.

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6 comments

  • Brian

    Just think if Spacex is successful in establishing a presences on Mars in the coming decade with its Starship even if it’s only a small presences, how much the Deep Space Network would have to be upgraded. That’s a lot different than a few rovers and orbiters at Mars.

  • Chris

    Are there comparable networks established in China, EU or Russia?

  • Chris: Doing a quick search on BtB for “Deep Space Network” I found two posts that are relevant. First, China has one antenna in Argentina which they say is used for their interplanetary probes: China’s unsupervised radio antenna in Argentina

    Second, it appears that Europe has now built its own network as well. See this 2016 post: Keeping the Deep Space Network working

    The DSN however appears to be the backbone, with the other systems designed as back-ups or supplements. China however would not be allowed to use the DSN, due to legal restrictions preventing NASA from working with them. They might however have agreements with Europe.

  • wayne

    Q:
    Whatever happened to the Greenbank radio telescope, in Virginia? Was that ever a part of the DSN?
    (I know it collapsed 25+/- years ago and was rebuilt—didn’t they change the name to the Robert Byrd radio telescope (or some such rot)?

  • wayne: Greenbank was designed for radio astronomy, not communications. Entirely different thing.

  • Ray Van Dune

    I recall reading that the original Green Bank radio telescope was CIA sponsored, and designed to intercept internal USSR radio transmissions by capturing their reflection off of the moon! This would have been back in the day when the CIA spied on America’s ENEMIES.

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