Many folks would like to see us back on the Moon and developing its resources.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Good evening. Forty Years of Space Talk

To communicate or not to communicate that is the question.

The article copied is about 40 years of the DSN.

The Deep Space Network, here is to looking up.

If you ever care to look back at the planning for the Interplanetary Network, the monthly reports are on-line.
- LRK -

The Interplanetary Network Progress Report, published on activities of the Interplanetary Network Directorate (IND) in planning, research, technology development, implementation, and operations in the areas of network, communications, navigation, information systems, Deep Space Network (DSN) science, mission support, communication standards, protocols, and spectrum engineering. Tasks funded by the JPL Director's Research Discretionary Fund, the Research & Technology Development Fund, and other programs that involve the IND also are included.


Past issues of this publication, which has been published under four different titles, can be accessed electronically from this page. From February 1971 through April 1980, the publication was entitled The Deep Space Network Progress Report. Then from June 1980 (issue 42-57) through February 1998 (issue 42-132), it was published as The Telecommunications and Data Acquisition Progress Report. Beginning in May 1998 (issue 42-133) and ending in May 2001 (issue 42-145), the publication was The Telecommunications and Mission Operations Progress Report. The publication was retitled The Interplanetary Network Progress Report in August 2001 (issue 42-146). All past issues published under all of these titles are available here.


Technical Report 32-1526, Volume I
The Deep Space Network Progress Report
For November and December 1970


DSN Functions and Facilities


There is a wealth of information in these PDF files about all the work that went into preparing for the many missions that have gone on. Those early volumes that have Roman Numeral headings cover those early deep space missions.

Should you care to look at some of them it will be just like you were there during planning.
- LRK -


[DIR] I/ 18-Dec-2000 16:26 2K
[DIR] II/ 18-Dec-2000 16:25 2K
[DIR] III/ 15-Dec-2000 11:50 2K
[DIR] IV/ 20-Nov-2000 09:29 2K
[DIR] IX/ 17-Nov-2000 17:30 2K
[DIR] V/ 17-Nov-2000 17:35 2K
[DIR] VI/ 17-Nov-2000 17:34 2K
[DIR] VII/ 17-Nov-2000 17:33 2K
[DIR] VIII/ 17-Nov-2000 17:31 2K
[DIR] X/ 17-Nov-2000 17:29 2K
[DIR] XI/ 17-Nov-2000 17:27 2K
[DIR] XII/ 09-Nov-2000 12:01 2K
[DIR] XIII/ 09-Nov-2000 10:41 2K
[DIR] XIV/ 09-Nov-2000 09:47 2K
[DIR] XIX/ 07-Nov-2000 13:38 2K
[DIR] XV/ 08-Nov-2000 11:42 2K
[DIR] XVI/ 08-Nov-2000 11:41 2K
[DIR] XVII/ 07-Nov-2000 14:49 2K
[DIR] XVIII/ 07-Nov-2000 14:48 2K

When we go back to the Moon, I should think the DSN will be participating.
There schedule is full and others may need to have antennas pointing up as well. The SMART-1 mission has already found that time has to be shared with missions going to Mars and to Venus.

Maybe you have a 26 meter, 34 meter, or 70 meter antenna in your backyard to help fill in. :-)

Radio Hams have done Moon bounce communications.

Communicating over great distances via VHF continues to fascinate many amateurs. EME (Earth-Moon-Earth) communication, also known as "moonbounce", meteor scatter, and VHF cw DX are some of the techniques used. In the case of EME and meteor scatter, the concept is simple: use the moon or the ionized trail of a meteor as a passive reflector for VHF and UHF signals. A simple but effective station is within the reach of most amateur experimenters. With the advent of very sensitive receiving preamplifiers and commercially available high-gain Yagi antennas, many VHF operators are enjoying successful weak signal contacts. With a total path length of about 500,000 miles, EME is the ultimate DX


Shall we look more at what will be required to live on the Moon?

Thanks for looking up.

Larry Kellogg

Web Site:
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Forty Years of Space Talk


"That's one small step for man. One giant leap for mankind." That famous communique from Apollo 11 during the historic first-ever moon walk was brought to you by the 64-meter antenna at NASA's Deep Space Network in Goldstone, Calif.

70 meter Deep Space Network antenna Image right: Front view of the 70m antenna at Goldstone, California. Image credit: NASA/JPL
+ Browse version of image

The antenna has accumulated a rich legacy during its 40 years of supporting space exploration. In addition to capturing the words of astronauts on all the Apollo moon missions, the dish has communicated with the computers and equipment on every one of NASA's major robotic solar system explorers. The "Big Dish" enabled the world to see the first-ever close-up images of Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune, their rings and their myriad moons, by the Pioneer, Voyager, Galileo and Cassini missions. The antenna has also communicated with NASA's Mars missions, including the currently-operating fleet of five: Mars Global Surveyor, Mars Odyssey, the Mars Exploration Rovers and Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.

The antenna's history stretches back to 1963, when the United States and Russia were engaged in a high-stakes space race. Engineers were relying on smaller antennas to keep tabs on NASA's earliest missions, which ventured only as far as orbit around Earth. With the development of the Mariner Mars missions, more powerful communications tools were needed.

The plan was to build a 64-meter antenna at Goldstone, one of three sites of the Deep Space Network. In 1963, Rohr Corporation was awarded a $12 million contract to design and build the big dish.

After two years of construction, a testing phase began to determine how well the antenna would receive signals. In March 1966, engineers pointed the dish toward Mariner 4, which had been lost by smaller antennas after its historic Mars flyby in 1965. Eureka! Mariner 4 sent a signal, and the Goldstone antenna picked it up.

To commemorate this historic event, the 64-meter antenna was named "Mars,"
or more technically, Deep Space Station 14. After three months of calibrations and personnel training, the Mars antenna became the first operational 64-meter antenna of the Deep Space Network in June 1966.

The Network includes communications facilities placed about 120 degrees apart around the world -- at Goldstone; near Madrid, Spain; and Canberra, Australia. As Earth rotates, this strategic placement permits ground controllers to maintain constant observation of robotic spacecraft exploring the solar system and beyond.

The pioneering Mars antenna was later to expand its repertoire - and its size. In the late 1960s, the antenna was called on to support all the American lunar missions, including Apollo 11, and the nerve-wracking "Houston, we have a problem" Apollo 13 mission. During the critical re-entry of that space capsule, it was more essential then ever for engineers on the ground to maintain contact with the astronauts. The craft's minimal power was needed for re-entry, with little left over for transmitted communications. The antenna was able to capture the "whispers from space," and helped bring the astronauts home safely.

As the years passed, NASA pushed the boundaries of space travel farther and farther. The transmitting capability of the 64-meter antenna was expanded for the Viking Mars landers in the mid-1970s. In 1988, the antenna was enlarged to 70 meters (230 feet) to support the Voyager 2 flyby of the distant planet Neptune.

Today's 70-meter antenna can do much more than track spacecraft. It's also used for solar system radar, imaging nearby planets, asteroids and comets.
It does this by transmitting a 500,000-watt signal to "bounce" off the object and return the resulting signal to Earth. Radar allows us to figure out the paths of asteroids and comets and determine whether any might be a possible future threat to earth. The antenna is also used for Very Long Baseline Interferometry, in conjunction with a radio telescope at one of the other Deep Space Network Stations, to precisely measure Earth's orientation.
This information helps with spacecraft navigation.

With a fleet of NASA missions already flying and many more planned for the future, the 70-meter Goldstone antenna and the other dishes of the Deep Space Network have a busy lifetime ahead of them.

Carolina Martinez/JPL
(818) 354-9382

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