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Spacecraft and Instruments

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Telecommunications Experiment Package
 
Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter will test the use of a radio frequency called Ka-band to demonstrate the potential for greater performance in communications using significantly less power.

While the standard in deep-space communication is currently a radio wave known as X-band, future spacecraft will incorporate radio systems utilizing the Ka-band of the radio spectrum instead. The Ka-band frequency is four times higher than X-band (32 Gigaherz compared to 8 Gigaherz), which allows much higher data rates to be transmitted. Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter carries a separate Ka-band radio in order to demonstrate this new capability for future missions.