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A history of the deep space networkThe Deep Space Network (DSN) has been managed and operated by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) under NASA contract ever since NASA was formed in late 1958. The Tracking and data acquisition tasks of the DSN are markedly different from those of the other NASA network, STDN. STDN, which is an amalgamation of the satellite tracking network (STADAN) and the Manned Space Flight Network (MSFN), is primarily concerned with supporting manned and unmanned earth satellites. In contrast, the DSN deals with spacecraft that are thousands to hundreds of millions of miles away. The radio signals from these distant craft are many orders of magnitude weaker than those from nearby satellites. Distance also makes precise radio location more difficult; and accurate trajectory data are vital to deep space navigation in the vicinities of the other planets of the solar system. In addition to tracking spacecraft and acquiring data from them, the DSN is required to transmit many thousands of commands to control the sophisticated planetary probes and interplanetary monitoring stations. To meet these demanding requirements, the DSN has been compelled to be in the forefront of technology.
Document ID
Acquisition Source
Legacy CDMS
Document Type
Contractor Report (CR)
Corliss, W. R.
(NASA Headquarters Washington, DC United States)
Date Acquired
September 3, 2013
Publication Date
November 1, 1976
Subject Category
Space Communications, Spacecraft Communications, Command And Tracking
Report/Patent Number
Accession Number
Funding Number(s)
Distribution Limits
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.
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