Communications Ground Systems

The Communications Ground Systems Section provides engineering development, implementation, and maintenance of high-reliability state-of-the-art technologies for the telecommunications systems of the Deep Space Network (DSN) in support of NASA's space science missions.


Our areas of expertise include:

Design and development of all aspects of a ground communications system including the RF/microwave optics and feeds, cryogenic low noise amplifiers, high power RF transmitters, digital receivers, mechanical/structural elements of large antennas and antenna construction, and precision antenna pointing utilizing advanced servo controllers. These developments have resulted in world leading low noise detectors operating simultaneously with transmitting systems radiating in excess of 100 kW. Front-end system engineering expertise ensures the highest performance and most efficient use of resources. Automated ground operations are developed to enable multi-mission support. Developments for the future include optical communications research and demonstrations and Ka-band (34 GHz) high power MMIC based transmitter feeds. The Section provides metrology and system performance measurement of all elements of ground systems. Engineering excellence is maintained through strategic support to flight communications and instrument development.


New capabilities for the DSN are continuously added to meet the growing demand of the fleet of deep space missions. Optical communications ground systems that work in tandem with the current RF systems are being developed to meet the high data rate requirements that are part of multi-spectral instruments to be flown in the future. The Section is currently completing constructing of the second of two new 34m diameter antennas in Australia to be followed by more in both Spain and California.