Subscribe to our free daily newsletters
. 24/7 Space News .




Subscribe to our free daily newsletters



SPACE TRAVEL
NASA Communications Network to Double Space Station Data Rates
by Staff Writers
Greenbelt MD (SPX) Dec 14, 2016


NASA operates three Space Network ground terminals. Pictured here, the White Sands ground terminal at NASA's White Sands Test Facility in Las Cruces, New Mexico, was opened in 1981 ahead of the first TDRS launch in 1983. This terminal will be upgraded as part of the effort to double the space station's data rates. Image courtesy NASA/W.R. Gardner. For a larger version of this image please go here. Watch a video on the technology here.

Life aboard the International Space Station depends upon massive amounts of data, used for everything from commanding the station to providing real-time high-definition video and data on hundreds of science and technology experiments, to giving live TV interviews with astronauts. Every bit of that data travels to Earth via the Space Network, and starting soon, the network will transmit double the data in a single second than it ever has before.

The Space Network (SN), composed of a constellation of Tracking and Data Relay Satellites (TDRS) and their associated ground stations, provides communication services to some of NASA's most storied spacecraft, including the International Space Station.

Currently, the SN provides connectivity to and from the station at 300 megabits per second (Mbps), twice the rate of a typical high-speed internet connection in American homes. The station transmits data to whichever TDRS spacecraft is in view, which, in turn, transmits it to ground terminals before it reaches a data center like mission control in Houston. The increased data rate will support new, more sophisticated instruments that require a greater data flow.

"Fundamentally, this upgrade of both the onboard and ground data communications systems enables an increase in the scientific output from the space station," said Mark Severance, network director of human spaceflight at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. "Increasing the data downlink rates from the station will allow the manifestation of new experiments and technology demonstrations that have higher data-rate requirements than could previously be accommodated."

Increasing the data rate begins at the Space Network's remote ground terminal in Guam. The SN team installed a 300 Mbps data downlink capability at the Guam facility to increase data-flow capability to and from the station to the current standard. They will now install upgraded hardware at the White Sands, New Mexico, and Guam ground terminals to enable the space station to double its data return.

Data transmitted by the station includes time-sensitive, mission-critical data like information about the crew's health, the status of the station's systems, results from onboard science experiments, as well as every single social media post and interview. Flight controllers at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston receive the station's tracking and command data primarily from the SN.

In addition to the space station, the SN makes connections, recorded as "events," with more than 40 other NASA missions, including the Hubble Space Telescope. In total, the Space Network handles more than 900,000 minutes of data a month with over 13,000 communication events. This equates to, on average, 28 terabytes of information every day, which is about 1,100 single layered Blu-ray discs.

"The project is committed to evolving the Space Network to enable new mission concepts by simplifying customer interfaces, increasing customer data rates, and enabling new concepts of operations," said Ted Sobchak, SN project manager.

The SN will add another TDRS spacecraft to its fleet in 2017. TDRS-M is scheduled to launch from Cape Canaveral, Florida, aboard a United Launch Alliance Atlas-V launch vehicle in late summer. Upon completion of on-orbit testing, (about six months) TDRS-M will be renamed. Built by Boeing, TDRS-M will greatly increase network capacity and flexibility.

At the same time, the Space Network Ground Segment Sustainment project is working to bring the Space Network's ground terminals into the 21st century. The team has been working to implement a new architecture that allows the network to accommodate new users and capabilities. An added bonus includes reducing the effort required to operate and maintain the system, a potential savings in operation costs.

NASA's Space Communications and Navigation (SCaN) Program Office, a division of the Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters in Washington, provides programmatic oversight of NASA's networks, advanced communication technologies, and other space communication requirements. These capabilities form the backbone of all NASA missions, providing critical connectivity from spacecraft to ground.

SCaN provides the strategic guidance necessary to ensure NASA's space communication resources continue to meet the needs of their customers and the agency for years to come. SCaN is actively engaged in the wider international community dedicated to interoperability and compatibility for space communications and navigation.


Comment on this article using your Disqus, Facebook, Google or Twitter login.


Thanks for being here;
We need your help. The SpaceDaily news network continues to grow but revenues have never been harder to maintain.

With the rise of Ad Blockers, and Facebook - our traditional revenue sources via quality network advertising continues to decline. And unlike so many other news sites, we don't have a paywall - with those annoying usernames and passwords.

Our news coverage takes time and effort to publish 365 days a year.

If you find our news sites informative and useful then please consider becoming a regular supporter or for now make a one off contribution.

SpaceDaily Contributor
$5 Billed Once


credit card or paypal
SpaceDaily Monthly Supporter
$5 Billed Monthly


paypal only

.


Related Links
NASA Space Network
Space Tourism, Space Transport and Space Exploration News






Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

Previous Report
SPACE TRAVEL
Space freighter burns up after launch to to ISS: Russia
Moscow (AFP) Dec 1, 2016
An unmanned cargo ship travelling to the International Space Station burned up in the atmosphere shortly after launch on Thursday, Russia's space agency said. "According to preliminary information, as a result of an abnormal situation, the cargo ship's loss occurred some 190 kilometres (110 miles) above the remote, unpopulated mountainous territory of (Russia's) Tuva region, and most fragmen ... read more


SPACE TRAVEL
Early US astronauts faced uncertainty, danger and death

NASA Tech - it's all around us

NASA Communications Network to Double Space Station Data Rates

NASA's Exo-Brake 'Parachute' to Enable Safe Return for Small Spacecraft

SPACE TRAVEL
Technical glitch postpones NASA satellite launch

After glitch, NASA satellite launch set for Wednesday

NASA Engineers Test Combustion Chamber to Advance 3-D Printed Rocket Engine Design

ULA launches eighth Wideband Global SATCOM satellite

SPACE TRAVEL
Mars Rock-Ingredient Stew Seen as Plus for Habitability

ExoMars orbiter images Phobos

Mars One puts back planned colonisation of Red Planet

Opportunity team plot path forward to the 'Gully'

SPACE TRAVEL
Chinese missile giant seeks 20% of a satellite market

China-made satellites in high demand

Space exploration plans unveiled

China launches 4th data relay satellite

SPACE TRAVEL
Air New Zealand signs contract for Inmarsat's GX Aviation

UAE launches national space policy

European ministers ready ESA for a United Space in Europe in the era of Space 4.0

Nordic entrepreneurial spirit boosted by space

SPACE TRAVEL
Japan launches 'space junk' collector

Teaching an old satellite new tricks

Orbital ATK to develop critical technology for in-orbit assembly

Decoding cement's shape promises greener concrete

SPACE TRAVEL
Who needs a body? Not these larvae, which are basically swimming heads

Scientists examine bacterium found 1,000 feet underground

Rings around young star suggest planet formation in progress

ALMA finds compelling evidence for pair of infant planets around young star

SPACE TRAVEL
Juno Mission Prepares for December 11 Jupiter Flyby

Research Offers Clues About the Timing of Jupiter's Formation

New Perspective on How Pluto's "Icy Heart" Came to Be

New analysis adds to support for a subsurface ocean on Pluto




Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News






The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2017 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. All articles labeled "by Staff Writers" include reports supplied to Space Media Network by industry news wires, PR agencies, corporate press officers and the like. Such articles are individually curated and edited by Space Media Network staff on the basis of the report's information value to our industry and professional readership. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement