Nasa unveils powerful addition to Deep Space Network – Electronics Weekly

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Nasa unveils powerful addition to Deep Space Network

This network connects the agency to the space robots exploring the solar system, it says. And the dish is now online and ready to communicate with a variety of missions. These will include its Perseverance rover when it lands on Mars next month.

The DSS-56 is described by Nasa as an “all-in-one” antenna that can communicate with all the missions that the DSN supports and can be used as a backup for other antennas.

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The new 34-meter-wide (112-foot-wide) dish has been under construction at the Madrid Deep Space Communications Complex since 2017. Existing antennas are limited in the frequency bands they can receive and transmit, often restricting them to communicating only with specific spacecraft. DSS-56 is the first to use the Deep Space Network’s full range of communication frequencies as soon as it went online. This means DSS-56 is an “all-in-one” antenna that can communicate with all the missions that the DSN supports and can be used as a backup for any of the Madrid complex’s other antennas.

In addition to Spain, the Deep Space Network has ground stations in California (Goldstone) and Australia (Canberra). This configuration allows mission controllers to communicate with spacecraft throughout the solar system at all times during Earth’s rotation.

“DSS-56 offers the Deep Space Network additional real-time flexibility and reliability,” said Badri Younes, deputy associate administrator and program manager of NASA’s Space Communications and Navigation (SCaN). “This new asset symbolizes and underscores our ongoing support for more than 30 deep space missions who count on our services to enable their success.”

Image: NASA/JPL-Caltech

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