NASA’s DSN – ‘Wireless Network’ Turns 50

NASA’s Deep Space Network, the world’s largest and most powerful
communications system for “talking to” spacecraft, will reach a
milestone on Dec. 24: the 50th anniversary of its official creation.
Over the past 50 years, antennas of the Deep Space Network (DSN) have
communicated with just about every mission that has gone to the moon or
beyond. The historic communiqu├ęs include “That’s one small step for
man. One giant leap for mankind”; numerous encounters with the outer
planets of our solar system; images taken by rovers exploring Mars; and
the data confirming that NASA’s Voyager spacecraft had finally entered
interstellar space.

The Deep Space Network has been so critical to so many missions over
the decades, the network’s team members like to use the phrase “Don’t
leave Earth without us.”
More information about the Deep Space Network is online at: http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/dsn50/
From the very beginning of NASA’s space program, it was clear that a
simple, direct way to communicate with missions in deep space would be
needed. For example, what is the purpose of sending a spacecraft to Mars
if we can’t receive data, images and other vital information from that
spacecraft?
What is now known as the Deep Space Network first existed as just a
few small antennas called the Deep Space Instrumentation Facility. The
facility was originally operated by the U.S. Army in the 1950s and then
later moved over to the jurisdiction of the newly created National
Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).
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