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Major Surgery Complete for Deep Space Network Antenna
11.02.10
 
The seven-month upgrade to the historic, 70-meter-wide (230-foot-wide) "Mars antenna" at NASA's Deep Space Network site in Goldstone, CA. has now been completed. After a month of intensive testing, similar to the rehabilitation stage after surgery, the antenna is now ready to help guide us through the next decade of space exploration communication.

Center Contact:  Jia-Rui Cook/Priscilla Vega, 818-354-0850/354-1357
HQ Contact: Joshua Buck, 202-358-1100
For more information: www.deepspace.nasa.gov

Jeff Osman
Contract Technical Manager, Deep Space Network, JPL

(:13)  The biggest job was replacing the azimuth bearing.  This whole antenna floats on a film of oil about five to ten thousandths of an inch thick - it's about the thickness of a sheet of paper.  We had to replace the entire assembly that allowed that to happen. 
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(:26)  70-meter antennas are the largest antennas in the deep space network.  They have the best capability to bing back the most amount of data and we're always struggling to find enough antenna time for all the missions that want to use the deep space network.  Having this antenna back just really increases the overall vollume of data that we can return... makes it that much more important for the spacecraft users of the DSM - the projects themselves.  More data means more scientific discoveries. 
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Wayne Sible
Department Project Manager, Deep Space Network, JPL

(:27)The antenna now should be in good operating condition for the next ten to fifteen years.  We expect it to operate quite well through 2025.  We have a number of missions that are relying on the big dish.  Juno is coming up, Mars Science Labratory when it lands on Mars.  We have a number of critical activities planned for this antenna so that's why we want to keep it running and it should be in tip-top shape and this month should prove that out. 
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