The large antennas of NASA's Deep Space Network provide two-way communications with spacecraft at Mars and other bodies in the solar system.

December 18, 2013

The large antennas of NASA's Deep Space Network (DSN) provide two-way communications with spacecraft at Mars and other bodies in the solar system. Among them are the Beam Wave Guide antennas at the DSN complex at Goldstone, California, known as the "Beam Waveguide Cluster." Each antenna is 111.5-feet (34-m) in diameter. These antennas were the first DSN operational antennas to utilize the beam waveguide design that placed weather-sensitive electronic equipment inside an underground pedestal instead of a centrally mounted feed cone structure. The use of the underground pedestal allows for easier repair, maintenance and upgrades. These antennas are equipped to handle the communications needs of a large variety of deep space missions. In addition, these antennas may be arrayed together with the 34-Meter HEF antenna to provide the equivalent communications performance of the 70-Meter antenna. They are located in an area at Goldstone called "Apollo Valley." This photograph was taken on Jan. 11, 2012. This photograph was taken on Jan. 11, 2012.

The Goldstone Deep Space Communications Complex, located in the Mojave Desert in California, is one of three complexes that comprise NASA's Deep Space Network (DSN). The DSN provides radio communications for all of NASA's interplanetary spacecraft and is also utilized for radio astronomy and radar observations of the solar system and the universe.

JPL, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, manages the Deep Space Network for NASA. More information about the Deep Space Network is online at: http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/dsn50.

More information about NASA's Space Communications and Navigation program is at: www.spacecomm.nasa.gov.

Credit

NASA/JPL-Caltech

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