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GAO: The DSN is actually falling apart
Chmee
post May 26 2006, 07:42 PM
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QUOTE (Richard Trigaux @ May 26 2006, 06:44 AM) *
With my opinion, such a unvaluable resource should become international and be managed by the UN. But the US government is known not to agree with such options, see with the ICANN. So international funding should come into the network, into the form of new antennas in new places, the whole thing managed like an economical association, and technically by a centralized unifom authority.



Why should the UN manage a resource that was designed, built, enginneered, and most importantly, paid by the US? Should Germany turn over the Autobahn or the UK the North Sea oil platforms to the UN because they are invaluable? This network was not cheap and being so valuable it should remain under control of the country that had the will and means to build it.
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djellison
post May 26 2006, 07:44 PM
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There is already international involvement to some extent, with ESA building smaller facilities of it's own in various places.

There is no way in hell the UN should ever have control over the DSN. The US built it, the US use it, the US pay for it.

Doug
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Guest_AlexBlackwell_*
post May 26 2006, 07:48 PM
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QUOTE (djellison @ May 26 2006, 07:44 PM) *
There is no way in hell the UN should ever have control over the DSN. The US built it, the US use[s] it, the US pay[s] for it.

Doug, if you keep talking like that, we're going to have to make you an honorary U.S. citizen la Churchill biggrin.gif
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djellison
post May 26 2006, 08:14 PM
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Truth be told, I could go even further and say that the generosity with which DSN facilities have been made available to ESA could justify in some way a contribution from those nations...of course it's very give and take with things like this - you scratch our back..we'll scratch yours etc.

One thing that I've thought of...there was a detailed breakdown of estimated DSN costs for missions in the recent as a function of number of contacts per week, length of contacts, and facility size required etc in available in the library of the current Discovery AO
http://discovery.larc.nasa.gov/PDF_FILES/N...S-Update061.pdf

I'm not sure how the funding for a facility like this works - but I presume it's income is both from funding on a mission by mission basis as outlined in that doc, and also general DSN funding from NASA that's for maintainance and upgrades as opposed to normal running costs.

Perhaps one or the other needs a bit of a hike.

Doug
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Guest_Richard Trigaux_*
post May 26 2006, 08:23 PM
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QUOTE (djellison @ May 26 2006, 07:44 PM) *
There is already international involvement to some extent, with ESA building smaller facilities of it's own in various places.

There is no way in hell the UN should ever have control over the DSN. The US built it, the US use it, the US pay for it.

Doug


In hell, I don't know, I never visited this place, and I don't intend to go, if even it exists.

But I know what is possible or not on Earth. There are technical limitations, and often far before we meet them, there are political/psychological limitations.

So what is the most likely to happen is that Europe, or others, will sooner or later build their own DSN stations, like with Galileo and GPS. Of course, of the point of view of bandwith and availability, these several DSNs will be the exact equivalent of having one internationaly operated DSN, sharing its resources among countries. Child-minded politicians will be proud of THEIR network, and scientist will have means to work seriously. We shall just have to pay several times the development costs.

Chmee, autobahns in Germany can remain german, unless you find a mean to transport them in other places.
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Guest_AlexBlackwell_*
post May 26 2006, 08:28 PM
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QUOTE (Richard Trigaux @ May 26 2006, 08:23 PM) *
So what is the most likely to happen is that Europe, or others, will sooner or later build their own DSN stations, like with Galileo and GPS.

I wouldn't be surprised if that indeed comes to pass, Richard. I also wouldn't be surprised if at some point after that happened that "Europe, or others" would, say, issue ESA-like press releases claiming they built the first deep space network.
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Guest_Richard Trigaux_*
post May 26 2006, 08:36 PM
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QUOTE (djellison @ May 26 2006, 08:14 PM) *
Truth be told, I could go even further and say that the generosity with which DSN facilities have been made available to ESA could justify in some way a contribution from those nations...of course it's very give and take with things like this - you scratch our back..we'll scratch yours etc.

...

Doug


Added later (previous reply by Doug added during editing my own)

Of course, Doug, whatever the ownership and leadership of the DSN, users will have to contribute in a way or another. There is no reason (save pure generosity) that the US pay for others. This contribution can take the form of a rent, or new facilities added. But if other countries contribute with new facilities, they will sooner or later claim some leadership. And there are only two solutions:
-an international organism managed by contributor countries
-a UN organism.
That makes little difference though, except that some politicians in the US don't like the UN.

QUOTE (AlexBlackwell @ May 26 2006, 08:28 PM) *
I also wouldn't be surprised if at some point after that happened that "Europe, or others" would, say, issue ESA-like press releases claiming they built the first deep space network.


I don't know to what you allude to, but I agree it would not be honest. US clearly has at least forty years in advance. Only the Russians could say they have some kind of DSN, but it was made only of ships able to receive only communications from low orbit, and some large antennas on their territory, not a network all around the world able to receive signals from mars or beyond.



This discution is becoming quick and interesting, but I don't have a DSN for me and here in France it is time to shut down my station. Bye, to the next communication window.
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Bob Shaw
post May 26 2006, 10:48 PM
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QUOTE (AlexBlackwell @ May 26 2006, 08:48 PM) *
Doug, if you keep talking like that, we're going to have to make you an honorary U.S. citizen la Churchill biggrin.gif


Alex:

Surely his Ma was American, anyway? That's WLSC, not DE!

Bob Shaw


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Remember: Time Flies like the wind - but Fruit Flies like bananas!
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Bob Shaw
post May 26 2006, 11:01 PM
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QUOTE (Richard Trigaux @ May 26 2006, 08:12 PM) *
Maybe the solution would come from many small dishes spread by clusters or isolated all over the world, in more or less politically stable places, by any state which would want to contribute, or even by private owners. To cut the cost, we would use mass production for the dishes, and ship them by sea.


Richard:

I'm for the democratisation of data, so far as possible, and the notion of many dish arrays is very attractive.

We need to look not only to the current costs of spacecraft data reception, but also the 'distant' costs - Voyager being a prime example. Imagine if Alexander Carnegie funded the Voyager Interstellar Mission, and the new institutions which would be required (anybody want to mention SETI?). We see another analogue in AMSAT, or even SLOOH. The bottom line is that a paradigm shift has to come, whether it be commercial or non-commercial - the rate of change in the volume of data transmission across the Solar System may not follow Moore's Law exactly, but it's certainly in the same league!

Bob Shaw


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Guest_DonPMitchell_*
post May 27 2006, 02:21 AM
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QUOTE (Richard Trigaux @ May 26 2006, 01:36 PM) *
Only the Russians could say they have some kind of DSN, but it was made only of ships able to receive only communications from low orbit, and some large antennas on their territory, not a network all around the world able to receive signals from mars or beyond.


Russia has had a serious DSN since 1960, with a higher interplanetary bandwidth than the US, before the construction of the 64-meter Mars antenna at Goldstone. The Western center was in the Crimea, and the Eastern center was in Ussuriysk, and a couple big radio telescopes that also seconded at telemetry receivers near Moscow.

The Pluton system was the first component, built in 1960 near Yevpatoria. It consisted of three antennas, each of which was an array of 8 dishes on a common mount. It transmitted and received PCM coded data on decimeter and centimeter bands, and it could receive orthogonal coded (PPM) signals on a centimeter band. They also built a 32-meter dish just prior to that in Simferopol', to be used for lunar missions.

[attachment=5886:attachment] [attachment=5890:attachment]
(Pluton receiver site and transmitter site)

In the mid 1960s, a new system was constructed called Saturn, designed for the manned Moon program, but also purposed for interplanetary communication. It consisted of a great number of 25- and 32-meter antennas at a number of sites throughout the Soviet Union. The two 25-meter antennas seen in the upper right above are part of that system. Pluton was also upgraded, and began to use biorthogonal coding. They could send telemetry reliably at 400 bits/sec by then, and images at up to 6144 bits/sec.

[attachment=5891:attachment] [attachment=5892:attachment]
(70-meter installation, 64-meter antenna at Bear Lake)

In the early 1970s, a 70-meter antenna was built in the Crimea, and a second built in the Eastern center in Siberia. At the time, they were the largest steerable parabolic antennas in the world (Goldstone later upgraded its 64-meter DSN to 70 meters, with extensions to the dishes). This system, called Kvant ("quantum"), was used for Venera-13 and later missions. It's still in use today, and has been upgraded to be essentially identical to the American system. The two Russian 70-meter dishes, and the three American ones have been used together a few times, like during the Vega mission.
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djellison
post May 27 2006, 07:05 AM
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ESA is slowly getting there with a DSN of it's own...
http://www.esa.int/spacecraftops/Image/url..._section3_l.jpg

Also - just looking at the GAO report - they only visited Goldstone...no site visits for Spain or Aus which seems a bit of a half-arsed job to be honest.

Doug
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Guest_Richard Trigaux_*
post May 27 2006, 07:30 AM
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Thanks DonPMitchell to bring more exact info than I did.

So we have larges dishes available in Russia for PRACTICAL use (and they were already used).

What interesses me is to have practically available facilities, to be used in missions.

A common technical control would be fine.

After, what politicians say, it is MY antenna, I don't care, so long as THEIR antenna is actually used to receive OUR data when this data is coming.

Of course we are still today with most of the US DSN used for US missions, and russian antennas used for russian missions, it is quite normal. There are still now few users. But things will change, and it will require sooner or later a better technical direction, together with a common economical/political management in a form or another.

By the way, ESA used the DSN, but MERs used the european Mars satellite as a relay. Accounting such feats in terms of political revenges or involving the Irak problem is definitively petty. Accounting in bucks may be unavoidable. Saying it is INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION would be clever.

Sorry Doug and some others, nobody was never able to explain me for what purpose boundaries were created. As far as I know, it is an old custom dating back to the chimpazees, who have a sharp notion of clan territory. But today we are clever and nice guies comitted to build a pleasant world for us all. This will not remove boundaries right now, but the way of evolution is toward more and more international cooperations, international bodies, international authorities, etc. Even the US who don't like the UN, created the WTO, world bank, and others. Especially about space, it will lead to more and more international cooperations and international projects, India using european rockets and the DSN, etc. Even the ISS problems will not reverse this tendency, I think, it will just make people more cautious.

Anyway going more international will be necessary, from down to earth reasons (bucks) to more philosophical reasons (sending a spaceship to stars, in the name of who?)

Back to DSN, a country like France still own Guyana and many islands in south Pacific and south Indian ocea, which are desert or politicaly stable. They could provide many places for antennas at longitudes where there are not many stable countries. Emerging countries like India or Brazil could be interested too.

Perhaps the furure legal ownership of the DSN will be some kind of formal shares society, where everyone will bring something (US first, of course) in exchange of a guarantee on availability.
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djellison
post May 27 2006, 07:39 AM
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QUOTE (Richard Trigaux @ May 27 2006, 08:30 AM) *
But things will change, and it will require sooner or later a better technical direction, together with a common economical/political management in a form or another.
...
By the way, ESA used the DSN, but MERs used the european Mars satellite as a relay.



On the first point - I don't see any change. Those 'doing space' are developing the resources to talk their assets. The DSN needs more cash for maintainance and upgrading, but it doesnt require external management. To be honest, demanding an external body manages the DSN is a bit like a kid trying to steal someone elses sweets.

And MER used Mars Express as little more than a tech-demo to check compatability and functionality of the UHF payload on MEX - as a percentage of data returned, MEX would be considerably less than a percentage point.

Doug
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garybeau
post May 27 2006, 01:26 PM
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Regardless of how much money is spent upgrading the current DSN, it will never meet the demands
required in the coming decades. I really think it's time to start forging ahead with an optical communication
infrastructure and maintain the current DSN for existing and short term future missions. Optical communications would allow a 10-100 times increase in data transmission. As mentioned above, it's not
practical to put a 70 meter dish in orbit, but it's very practical to put an optical receiver in space.
A synopsis of some of the work Nasa has been doing in optical research can be found here:

http://lasers.jpl.nasa.gov/PAGES/about.html

I'm sure ESA must have a similar program in the works also.
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Guest_DonPMitchell_*
post May 27 2006, 03:57 PM
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Space programs have a long history of "Not Invented Here" syndrom, as well as being nationalistic. Witness the exercise of duplicating the GPS system in Europe, for example. I think with DSN, you can at least argue that scheduling issues make it advantageous for each program to have its own system.

With regard to politcial stability, what is the situation in the French Guiana? There has been an ongoing struggle for independance in New Caledonia for years now, with occasional outbursts of violence. That would be a setback for ESA if things got strange there, and Washington would definately not help (given their long lasting "Monroe Doctrine" sentiment).
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