Deep Space Network

Ranked #37 on the list Best Radio Service of All Time

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About Deep Space Network

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The Deep Space Network, or DSN, is a world-wide network of large antennas and communication facilities that supports interplanetary spacecraft missions. It also performs radio and radar astronomy observations for the exploration of the solar system and the universe, and supports selected Earth-orbiting missions. DSN is part of the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL). Other similar networks include ESTRACK of the European Space Agency, the Soviet Deep Space Network, the Indian Deep Space Network, and the Chinese Deep Space Network. Tracking vehicles in deep space is quite different from tracking missions in low Earth orbit (LEO). Deep space missions are visible for long periods of time from a large portion of the Earth's surface, and so require few stations (the DSN has only three main sites). These few stations, however, require huge antennas, ultra-sensitive receivers, and powerful transmitters in order to transmit and receive over the vast distances involved. Deep space is defined in two different ways. The first is when a mission gets sufficiently far from Earth that it is always in view of one of the tracking stations. This distance, about 20-30,000 km or 10-16,000 miles, was

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