One of NASA’s largest deep space antennas is finally getting a much-needed upgrade 48 years after it was originally constructed.
The Deep Space Station 43 or DSS-43 as it’s more commonly known is a massive 70 metre-wide antenna located in Canberra, Australia which NASA uses to communicate with its wide variety of machinery located in space.
The upgrade’s DSS-43 will get includes a new X-band frequency cone, which will give it a powerful state-of-the-art transmitter system and highly sensitive receivers. NASA hopes to use this upgrade to both send and receive data to and from robotic missions beyond our planet, such as receiving data sent by the rover currently exploring Mars, and subsequently sending instructions back to the rover.
NASA’s interplanetary switchboard – the Deep Space Network – is upgrading one of its biggest antennas in Australia. The 48-year-old dish is getting a state-of-the-art transmitter system to boost communications with spacecraft throughout the solar system. https://t.co/6Yd7ETOv7J pic.twitter.com/OKmAEnr0mG
— NASA JPL (@NASAJPL) July 9, 2020
Along with a new X-band frequency cone, NASA will also upgrade the DSS-43 water coolant system and its mechanical and electrical equipment, as these components have become ‘increasingly unreliable’ after being in constant use for 40 years.
The antenna has been offline since March of 2020. All upgrades are scheduled to be completed by January 2021, according to NASA.
Image: NASA/ JPL