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deep-space communications complex


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(DSCC)

Any of three centres used by NASA's deep-space network (DSN) to communicate with spacecraft. A DSCC uses downlinks to receive scientific data from a spacecraft and uplinks to navigate the craft, control its operating modes, and load and reprogram its computers.

The three complexes are located approximately 120° apart in longitude: at Goldstone near Barstow, in California's Mojave desert; Tidbinbilla near Canberra, Australia; and Robledo near Madrid, Spain. This allows constant observation of a spacecraft as the Earth rotates, since each DSCC has an 8- to 14-hour period of contact with a spacecraft, overlapping with the next DSCC. The DSCCs are located away from populated areas to avoid any electrical interference from radio and television stations that could obstruct a spacecraft's signals.

Subjects: Astronomy and Astrophysics.


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