NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) has committed General Dynamics SATCOM Technologies' DSS-35 (34-Meter) Antenna as an operational resource for its Deep Space Network at the Canberra Deep Space Communication Complex in Australia.
Under terms of the current contract with NASA, the DSS-35 is the first of two 34-Meter antennas provided for use in its Deep Space Network (DSN). The second antenna, DSS-36, is scheduled for installation and final testing in 2015.
SATCOM Technologies designed, constructed, installed and tested the antenna to meet stringent NASA requirements.
Josef Duller, General Manager of SATCOM Technologies San Jose, California facility, said, "This is a major milestone for SATCOM Technologies' San Jose, and Richardson, Texas facilities as it completes our work on this antenna that began in 2011.
"Our Company has a long association with NASA and its Deep Space Network program. Over the years, the Company has provided nine 34-meter antennas and upgraded three of the program's largest units: redesigning and enlarging antennas from 64 to 70 meters in diameter," Duller said.
Steve Michaud, SATCOM Technologies' Program Manager for the Deep Space Network project, explained, "NASA's world-wide Deep Space Network comprises three large antenna and communication facilities placed approximately 120 degrees apart around the Earth in California, Spain, and Australia.
"Each facility is situated in semi-mountainous, bowl-shaped terrain to help shield against radio frequency interference. The strategic 120-degree placement permits constant observation of spacecraft as the Earth rotates, and helps to make the DSN the largest and most sensitive scientific telecommunications system in the world.
"The Deep Space Network supports interplanetary spacecraft missions. It also performs radio and radar astronomy observations for the exploration of the solar system and the universe, and supports selected Earth-orbiting missions."
In its Commitment Notification to Michaud, JPL observed:
"On 18 September, a DSN Board conducted its review of the readiness of the DSS-35 BWG Antenna to enter operational service for spacecraft tracking, telemetry and command and for radio science and VLBI. The Board concluded that DSS-35 successfully met or exceeded the project requirements and those of the commissioning tests.
"On 1 October 2014, per the original DAE project plan, DSS-35 will be committed as an operational resource for the DSN at CDSCC.
"[We] want to express [our] appreciation to the staff of General Dynamics SATCOM Technologies in San Jose, CA, and Richardson, TX, and to your subcontractors, for the significant contributions and support enabling us to achieve this major milestone."
General Dynamics SATCOM Technologies is a leading global supplier of satellite communications earth stations. The Company has extensive experience supplying large radio telescope and telecommunications antennas and high performance control systems to NASA and the global astronomy community.