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NASA plans upgrades to Deep Space Network
Posted: Tue, May 8, 2001, 11:38 AM ET (1538 GMT)
Deep Space Network 34-meter antenna at Goldstone, CA (JPL) NASA is planning to build a new antenna to help the Deep Space Network (DSN) deal with a "crunch period" of heavy communications traffic in a few years. JPL announced Monday it had signed a contract with a Spanish construction company to build a new 34-meter antenna at the DSN site near Madrid to be completed by November 2003. The new antenna is the largest component of a $54 million upgrade to the DSN to cope with a heavy demand for communications anticipated by late 2003. At that time spacecraft from the US, Europe, and Japan will be arriving at Mars, the Stardust spacecraft will be approaching the comet Wild 2, and several other missions will be ongoing, putting a heavy load on the network that already struggles to handle current demand. NASA is also planning additional improvements to its two other DSN sites in Australia and California, and has already built four other 34-meter telescopes at these two locations in recent years.
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