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From the historian-designing the United States' initial 'deep-space networks': choices for the Pioneer lunar-probe attempts of 1958-9

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1 Author(s)
Waff, C.B. ; Jet Propulsion Lab., California Inst. of Technol., Pasadena, CA, USA

To support the series of early Pioneer lunar-probe attempts by the US Air Force and US Army, Ramo-Wooldridge's Space Technology Laboratories (STL) and Caltech's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) designed two separate networks of ground stations in 1958-9. Since the probes were means of restoring international prestige to the US, and thus were scheduled to be launched within a year of authorization, both networks had to be installed on a crash basis. The differences between the two initial networks in terms of antenna design, operating frequency, and location are described, and it is shown how the extra months afforded to JPL due to the later launches of the Army probes allowed its engineers to design and install the first elements of a system that evolved within a few years into NASA's Deep Space Network.<>

Published in:

Antennas and Propagation Magazine, IEEE  (Volume:35 ,  Issue: 1 )