General Dynamics SATCOM Technologies team has completed the installation and testing of two 34-meter (112-foot wide) beam waveguide antennas as part of NASA´s modernization plan for its Deep Space Network (DSN), the company said.
The antennas, located near Canberra, Australia, use a new servo-control system to more accurately position and point each antenna, improving communication and tracking of space probes on Mars and other spacecraft travelling beyond our galaxy. The largest and most sensitive scientific telecommunications system in the world, NASA´s DSN also helps scientists explore the universe.
Each antenna is the width of a football field and weighs about 600,000 tons, about the same weight as two commercial cruise ships, and are built to withstand sustained winds and extremes in heat and humidity to consistently hold its pointing position to within the width of a human hair.
Based on designs created by General Dynamics, in collaboration with the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, General Dynamics has built nine 34-meter antennas for the DSN, and upgraded 64-meter and 70-meter antennas built in the 1960s.
Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, manages the Deep Space Network for NASA.
General Dynamics SATCOM Technologies is a part of General Dynamics Mission Systems, a business unit of General Dynamics (NYSE: GD).