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  • 30 December, 2023

  • 2 Min Read

Deep Space Network (DSN)

NASA’s telecommunications network and navigation system, Deep Space Network, celebrated its 60th anniversary on December 24.

  • Initiative by - Deep Space Network (DSN) is an initiative of NASA started in the year 1963.
  • Operated by - The DSN is operated by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), which also operates many of the agency’s interplanetary robotic space missions.
  • Applications - DSN is an array of giant radio antennas that supports interplanetary spacecraft missions, plus a few that orbit Earth.
  • The DSN also provides radar and radio astronomy observations that improve our understanding of the solar system and the larger universe.
  • DSN is what makes it possible for NASA to communicate with spacecrafts further away from the moon.

The DSN also supported ISRO during India’s Chandrayaan-3 mission.

  • Sites - The DSN consists of three facilities spaced equidistant from each other, approximately 120 degrees apart in longitude, around the world.
  • These sites are at Goldstone, near Barstow, California; near Madrid, Spain; and near Canberra, Australia.
  • Working - The strategic placement of these sites permits constant communication with spacecraft as our planet rotates.
  • Before a distant spacecraft sinks below the horizon at one DSN site, another site can pick up the signal and carry on communicating.
  • Methods - NASA has been enhancing the DSN’s capacity by adding more dish antennas and upgrading the technology to support more spacecrafts and transfer more data from outer space.
  • One of these new methods is laser or optical communications, which could send more data from longer distances.


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