General Dynamics has installed and tested two beam waveguide antennas to support NASA‘s modernization efforts for the agency’s Deep Space Network.
The company said Tuesday its satellite communications technologies team installed the 34-meter antennas near Canberra, Australia to aid communications and tracking of Mars space probes and spacecraft missions outside the Milky Way.
“Each antenna is the width of a football field and weighs about 600,000 tons, about the same weight as two commercial cruise ships, and built to withstand sustained winds and extremes in heat and humidity to consistently hold its pointing position to within the width of a human hair,” said Mike DiBiase, General Dynamics vice president and general manager of General Dynamics’ mission systems business unit.
DiBiase added the antennas work to track down locations billions of miles away from Earth.
General Dynamics collaborated with the Jet Propulsion Laboratory to design and build nine antennas for the DSN as well as update 64-meter and 70-meter antennas built in the 1960s.
JPL is a division of the California Institute of Technology that manages DSN for NASA.