Deep Space Communications

  • How exactly do we communicate with space? Is there a live stream in space?
  • How do you stream from 15 billion kilometers away?
  • when designing onboard space communication system, mass and power are the major constrains.
  • these complex contsrains are moved into the ground station where larger ground stations(35 meters wide, 130 tonnes) can be built with much more perfomance.
  • we obviously need to receive scientific data, navigation measurements and status information from the spacecraft.
  • we also need to command the spacecraft in order to navigate it and operate it.
  • in order to navigate the spacecraft we need to know their position, wich is not an easy task at planetary distances, deep-space antennas perform radiometric measurements that allow to derive spacecraft position and velocity .
  • this measurment rely on the stability of our ground clocks, typically one second deviation in 100 years, time synchronisation is key – we contstanly need to synchronize the time between  the onboard spacecraft and the universal time on earth.
  • the data received by the ground antennas must be with a precise time tag, which is required by the scientist to put in relation with their scientific models.
  • the deep space network is built according to internationally agreed standards covering radio frequency modulation(upto 34GHz).
  • The principal challenge to deep space communication systems is posed by the enormous distance to the deep space network.
  • The spacecraft designed to study the geology and climate of mars(MRO) at it’s maximum data rate of 5.2 Mbps, requires 7.5 hours to tranmit and empty all of it’s onboard recordings.
  • Future human and robotics expeditions into deep space must count on the fastest and most efficient mean of cummunicating with mission managers on earth.
  • Deep Space Optical Communication(DSOC) project is developing the key technologies; the deep-space optical transciever and ground receiver that will enable rates greater that 10 times the current conventional Radio Frequency systems(upto 200Terahertz)
  • The Objective of DSOC is to intergrate a Flight Laser Transceiver(FLT) – an optical transceiver with electronics, software and firmwares.
  • this will allow unprecedented data rates from deep space thereby maximizing scientific return and enabling new types of missions.
  • Transmission of high definition images, live video feed, and real-time data transmission across deep space would soon be possible.
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