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  • richardmitnick 2:30 pm on January 29, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , NASA Deep Space Network installations in Spain and Australia, NASA ground stations at the White Sands Complex in Las Cruces New Mexico, NASA Space Network, NASA Tracking and Data Relay Satellite (TDRS) Fleet   

    From NASA Goddard Space Flight Center: “Significant Progress Made to Upgrades That Boost NASA’s Space Communications Capabilities” 

    NASA Goddard Banner
    From NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

    Jan. 29, 2019

    By Matthew D. Peters
    NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md.

    NASA Space Network

    NASA Tracking and Data Relay Satellite (TDRS) Fleet

    From navigating the cosmos, to capturing stellar images, to communicating with astronauts, no mission can operate without the ability to transmit data. NASA’s Space Network (SN), a constellation of Tracking and Data Relay Satellites (TDRS) and ground-based antennas forges critical links between Earth and space, making exploration and discovery possible. The SN’s ground stations at the White Sands Complex in Las Cruces, New Mexico, are undergoing modifications which will make these links faster and simpler.

    NASA White Sands NM Ground Station

    All of this means greater potential for science missions. On Earth, photo and video technology constantly advance to take higher resolution imagery, which then require higher data rates to send and stream that content. Similarly, missions are gathering more data and NASA communications systems must keep up. For example, the Hubble Space Telescope captures 844 gigabytes of science data per month (that’s 13 times the storage space on a 64-gigabyte iPhone). Hubble relies on the SN and its ground stations to get that data to Earth. Enhancements through the sustainment project could quadruple the rate of data that could be transmitted to Earth on a future, similar mission.

    The sustainment project team began installation of new ground electronics and upgrades to both main mission and test antennas in 2018. The team recently completed installation of operator workstations and signal processing computers. Integration and testing is now underway. A test of one of the newly modified antennas showed that it successfully received downlinks from TDRS, and processed and displayed that data automatically. This is a big step on the road to completion.

    “SGSS has made significant strides toward the completion of systems integration,” said Tom Gitlin, SGSS’s deputy project manager, technical. “We have completed provisional acceptance testing. Our focus will be on maintaining our progress to the first operational readiness review in fall 2019.”

    Provisional acceptance testing determines whether the system meets functionality and performance requirements. Operational readiness reviews determine not only if the technical requirements are met, but also whether personnel are prepared to operate the system.

    In total, 13 ground antennas at White Sands Complex will receive upgrades: six main mission antennas, four test antennas and three contingency communications antennas. Contingency antennas are used in case any of the mission antennas become unavailable. Test antennas are used to simulate various configurations before using those configurations for actual operations.

    Software upgrades will convert previously analog signals to digital signals to improve the quality of data transmissions. Digital signals reduce the potential of deterioration during transit from the antenna to the modem.

    Upgrades will also ensure that more of the ground antennas are available to TDRS under a wider range of conditions. Three antennas that currently only have Ku-band capabilities will receive S-band upgrades. Ku-band radio signals have high bandwidth allowing large amounts of data to be transmitted at a time. However, the signals have a relatively narrow field of view and antenna pointing needs to be more precise in order for the signal to reach its destination. Ku-band signals can also be scattered by atmospheric conditions like rain. S-band frequencies have a lower bandwidth, but have a wider field of view, requiring less precision, and are much less affected by atmospheric conditions. S-band frequencies can be used if Ku-band signals are interrupted, ensuring communication between TDRS and the ground continues.

    The upgrades will streamline maintenance for the network. Software that uses modern programming languages will replace older, custom-written software to reduce upkeep. Commercially available equipment will replace the old components to make it easier to repair the system during operations. Modern security measures have also been incorporated.

    The new infrastructure has the potential to support the next generations of data relay satellites, which may combine both radio frequency and optical communications technology. This will continue the critical communications lifeline to NASA missions for years to come.

    The Space Network will continue to prioritize daily communications support to more than 25 spacecraft while ground antennas are temporarily taken out of use to upgrade and test them.

    No mention of:

    NASA Deep Space Network Madrid Spain

    NASA Deep Space Network dish, Goldstone, CA, USA

    NASA Canberra, AU, Deep Space Network

    Goddard is home to the SGSS project. NASA’s Space Communications and Navigation (SCaN) program, part of the Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate at the agency’s Headquarters in Washington, is responsible for the SGSS project and the Space Network, which SGSS will update. For more information about the SCaN program, visit: https://www.nasa.gov/scan

    For more information on the SGSS project, visit: https://esc.gsfc.nasa.gov/sgss
    For more information on the Space Network, visit: https://esc.gsfc.nasa.gov/sn

    See the full article here.


    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center is home to the nation’s largest organization of combined scientists, engineers and technologists that build spacecraft, instruments and new technology to study the Earth, the sun, our solar system, and the universe.

    Named for American rocketry pioneer Dr. Robert H. Goddard, the center was established in 1959 as NASA’s first space flight complex. Goddard and its several facilities are critical in carrying out NASA’s missions of space exploration and scientific discovery.


    NASA/Goddard Campus

     
  • richardmitnick 10:18 pm on February 15, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , NASA Space Network, NASA TDRS   

    From Goddard: “Last NASA Communications Satellite of its Kind Joins Fleet” 

    NASA Goddard Banner
    NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

    Feb. 15, 2018
    Ashley Hume
    ashley.hume@nasa.gov
    NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md.

    NASA TDRS Tracking and Data Relay Satellite

    NASA has begun operating the last satellite of its kind in the network that provides communications and tracking services to more than 40 NASA missions, including critical, real-time communication with the International Space Station. Following its August launch and a five-month period of in-orbit testing, the third-generation Tracking and Data Relay Satellite (TDRS), referred to as TDRS-M until this important milestone, was renamed TDRS-13, becoming the tenth operational satellite in the geosynchronous, space-based fleet.

    “With TDRS-13’s successful acceptance into the network, the fleet is fully replenished and set to continue carrying out its important mission through the mid-2020s,” said Badri Younes, NASA’s deputy associate administrator for Space Communications and Navigation at NASA Headquarters in Washington. “Now, we have begun focusing on the next generation of near-Earth communications relay capabilities.”

    The 10 TDRS spacecraft comprise the space-based portion of the Space Network, relaying signals from low-Earth-orbiting missions with nearly 100 percent coverage.

    “The acceptance of this final third-generation TDRS into the Space Network is the result of many years of dedication and hard work by the TDRS team,” said Dave Littmann, the TDRS project manager at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. “As a result, critical space communication and tracking services that enable NASA human spaceflight and scientific discovery will continue well into the next decade.”

    ​TDRS-13 launched on Aug. 18, 2017, aboard a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. Built by Boeing in El Segundo, California, TDRS-13 and its nearly identical third-generation sister spacecraft are performing well. TDRS-K and -L launched in 2013 and 2014, respectively.

    NASA established the TDRS project in 1973, and the first satellite launched 10 years later, providing NASA an exponential increase in data rates and contact time communicating with the space shuttle and other orbiting spacecraft, such as the Hubble Space Telescope. Since then, NASA has continued to expand the TDRS constellation and advance the spacecraft capabilities.

    “NASA looks forward to the future, developing even better ways to meet missions’ communications needs,” said Younes. “We will leverage NASA’s success in optical communications and other innovative technologies, as well as significantly increase our partnership with industry, as we envision a shift to increased reliance on commercial networks for most, if not all, of our communications needs in the near-Earth environment.”

    Goddard is home to the TDRS project, which is responsible for the development and launch of these communication satellites. Boeing, headquartered in Chicago, Illinois, is the private contractor for the third-generation TDRS spacecraft. TDRS is the space element of NASA’s Space Network, providing the critical communication and navigation lifeline for NASA missions. NASA’s Space Communications and Navigation (SCaN) program, part of the Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate at the agency’s Headquarters in Washington, is responsible for NASA’s Space Network.
    For more information about NASA’s TDRS satellites, visit:
    https://www.nasa.gov/tdrs

    For more information about SCaN, visit:
    https://www.nasa.gov/SCaN

    See the full article here.

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    STEM Icon

    Stem Education Coalition

    NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center is home to the nation’s largest organization of combined scientists, engineers and technologists that build spacecraft, instruments and new technology to study the Earth, the sun, our solar system, and the universe.

    Named for American rocketry pioneer Dr. Robert H. Goddard, the center was established in 1959 as NASA’s first space flight complex. Goddard and its several facilities are critical in carrying out NASA’s missions of space exploration and scientific discovery.


    NASA/Goddard Campus

     
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