deep Space Network

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A world-wide network of radio telescopes for tracking and communicating with space probes, owned by NASA and operated by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. The network consists of three deep-space communications complexes, located on three continents to allow continuous coverage as the Earth rotates. The complexes are at Goldstone in the Mojave Desert of California, 72 km north of Barstow; Robledo de Chavela, 60 km west of Madrid, Spain; and the Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve, 40 km southwest of Canberra, Australia. Each complex has one 70-m and one 26-m antenna. In addition, the Goldstone complex has four 34-m antennae, Madrid has three, and Australia has two. The 70-m dishes were enlarged from 64 m in 1983–8, before Voyager 2's encounter with Neptune. The smaller dishes can be used for tracking some Earth-orbiting scientific satellites. The dishes are also used for radio and radar astronomy observations. NASA plans to replace the 70-m dishes with a new generation of 34-m antennas by 2025. The first site to be upgraded will be Canberra, where up to three 34-m antennas will come into operation by 2018.

http://deepspace.jpl.nasa.gov/dsn/ Official website.

Subjects: Astronomy and Astrophysics.

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