The Deep Space Network (DSN) is a sophisticateddata communications system used by the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) in conjunction with manned and unmanned space missions. The DSN is also used by radio astronomers.
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The main terminal of the DSN is located at JPL (Jet PropulsionLaboratory) headquarters in Pasadena, California. There are three primary antennas, spaced equally on a great circle that slants around the world. All three are large paraboloid (dish) antennasthat can be used for transmitting and receiving signals over a wide range of radio frequencies. One antenna is located in California, another is in Spain, and another is in Australia. Theantennas are located in such a way that all existing operational spacecraft can be monitored and controlled, and communications maintained with them, almost 100 percent of the time. This is true of both earth-orbiting satellites and interplanetary space vehicles.
Signals transmitted and received by DSN equipmentinclude satellite control and telemetry, e-mail (including text,graphics, video, programs, and sound attachments), communicationswith the Space Shuttles, and radio-frequency emanations fromdistant celestial objects.