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Communicating from the edge of the solar system: Centimeter-band transmissions, three-dimensional data compression, and laser-based systems may launch unmanned missions to deep space

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3 Author(s)
Posner, E.C. ; Jet Propulsion Lab., California Inst. of Technol., Pasadena, CA, USA ; Horttor, R.L. ; Grant, T.L.

Centimeter-band transmissions, three-dimensional data compression, and laser-based systems are discussed for future use in unmanned missions to deep space. Project Galileo, a planned two-in-one spacecraft that is to explore Jupiter and four of its moons as an orbiting weather satellite, while a canonical probe detaches from the orbiter and plunges into the Jovian atmosphere, is highlighted. Details of the Galileo communications link and interplanetary environment are described. The upgrading of NASA's Deep Space Network (DSN) is also reported. This network is being upgraded to nine antennas: six 34-meter antennas and three 64-meter ones; and by the time the Galileo craft reaches Jupiter, the DSN 64-meter antennas will have been enlarged to 70 meters. Proposals for more advanced communications links to be used for the late 20th and early 21st century space missions are outlined.

Published in:

Spectrum, IEEE  (Volume:23 ,  Issue: 6 )