NASA's Deep Space Network

To see the status and current activity of the Deep Space Network at any time, visit the Deep Space Network Now site. Click on an antenna to see details of the antenna and the spacecraft with which it is currently communicating, including frequency, power, and data rate.


Would there be any advantage to placing a very large antenna at L2 or some similar location?


No. Earth’s atmosphere is almost completely transparent to the microwave frequencies used to communicate with spacecraft, and the slight attenuation can easily be compensated for by making the dish a little larger. It is much less expensive to build and operate large structures like this on Earth than in space, even though there is the inconvenience of needing three sites around the globe to maintain continuous coverage as the Earth turns. Also, the electronics in the transmitters, receivers, and modulators are frequently upgraded and adapted for better performance, and this would be impossible in a space-based facility that could not be serviced after launch.

Radio astronomers would love a large radio telescope on the far side of the Moon, shielded from the increasingly raucous radio emission from Earth and Earth orbit, but that is a very different application than spacecraft communications.


Thank you, John. You know, I have been thinking repeatedly about the important value of the Scanalyzer approach to understanding of all things. I completely missed it when I read Stand on Zanzibar. I haven’t the time right now (I am struggling to install my new Synology network attached storage, which I - rightly or wrongly - consider doing my tiny part in facilitating a return to a peer-to-peer internet architecture and which, in any case, will at least afford me freedom from Apple’s snooping on my cloud storage).

The value of Scanalyzer is worthy of a full post and I will attempt it when I have time. Presently, because of posts like this - under the category of Continuity, which, like posts describing many scientific/technical fields - reveal the profound but narrow knowledge necessary to achieve each of the technological ‘miracles’ arrayed before us in this blog. After a brief wonderment, each new marvel, like the one in this post - to the extent it is even noticed - promptly recedes into the background and is taken for granted. There are numerous implications of this; the societal danger I see is that without a resource like scanalyzer and the willingness/desire to use it, society comes to exist as an assembly of mere specialized drones. As specialized drones unaware of the context of their existence or the occurrence and meaning of developments in fields beyond their expertise, they are by default asking to be dominated and controlled politically. Only those (usually sociopaths control freaks or manipulators) interested in controlling others pay any attention to the overall function of society and they ‘know’ with certainty precisely how the whole thing ought to function.

Thus, it seems apparent that self-governance of some kind requires individuals interested in living as moral agents. Such agency requires a broad understanding of one’s existence in the context of a very complex society. Today’s society makes such an approach to living as a social creature extremely unlikely. Most, even those with the kind of expertise which creates enterprises like the Deep Space Network, spend virtually all their scarce attention on work; what little remains is easily diverted to state-created “crises” or bread & circuses, or at most in terms of civic engagement - virtue signaling. A Scanalyzer function is, then, a necessary but not sufficient antecedent to a virtuous, self-governing society. This bodes ill for survival of anything like the individual liberty and moral agency envisaged by the Founders. I’m afraid the future looks bleak.

(Sorry to go off on this tangent here in this comment. It is what occurred to me; I wanted, nonetheless to share it and I just lack the time to treat this worthy topic fully as I believe it deserves).


While I wholeheartedly concur with most of the elements in your comment, I have to baulk at that one. If only those who control our society paid any attention to the overall function, they would not be printing money, offshoring industry, destroying education & training, failing to upgrade infrastructure, and attempting an “energy transition” to a vague system of fairy tales & unaffordable subsidies. To say nothing about starting unnecessary wars!


Psalm 101 frequently referred to as “Monarchy 101” succinctly summarizes proper Leadership.

Their failures you accurately list.

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