From the March 2008 issue

Talking to spacecraft

Hear about the state of the art from the program manager of NASA's Deep Space Network and the Spitzer Space Telescope's mission manager.
By | Published: March 19, 2008 | Last updated on May 18, 2023
Deep Space Network, Canberra, Australia
The Deep Space Network’s Canberra, Australia, facility includes the 70m (230 foot) “big dish” in the background and a 34m (110 foot) antenna in the foreground.
“Inside NASA’s Deep Space Network” gave me an opportunity to delve into an aspect of space exploration I had always wondered about. We tend to focus on the results — the fabulous Cassini images from Saturn, Voyager 1’s “taste” of plasma in the far solar system — rather than the process of acquiring them. But if you can’t receive the data, there’s little point in launching pricey space probes.

The audio files below include excerpts of two interviews I did for the article. The first, with Deep Space Network Program Manager Michael Rodrigues, focuses on the role of NASA’s “big dishes.” The second, with Charles Scott, mission manager for NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope, looks at communications from the perspective of an individual spacecraft.

Downloadable File(s)
Downloadable File(s)