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The Mission
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Communications Systems

Antennas for Relaying Information Between Earth and Mars

Mars Express has three antennas:

Antennas for Relaying Information Between Earth and Mars Low-Gain Antenna
a 40-centimeter aerial protruding from the spacecraft, used when Mars Express is close to Earth at the beginning of its journey

High-Gain Antenna
a 1.8-meter in diameter high-gain antenna attached to one face of the spacecraft that will:

  • during cruise: receive and transmit radio signals between the spacecraft and Earth

  • during science operations: point towards Mars for 1.5 hours to collect data and then point towards Earth for communications lasting up to six hours of the spacecraft's 7.5-hour martian orbit

UHF antenna
a special antenna on the spacecraft that will collect data from the Beagle 2 lander each time the orbiter passes over lander

U.S. Participation

The US contribution to communications is the use of two Deep Space Network tracking stations. For more information, see the Communications section.

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