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Three Deep Space Network antennas point in various directions, lit in soft pink and purple tones by the setting Sun.
Two Near Space Network antennas point toward a cloudy sky as they tower over neighboring trees. A mountain range stretches across the horizon in the background.
The Madrid Deep Space Communications Complex stretches across a lush, green landscape. Several antennas can be seen towering over surrounding buildings and roads.

Space Communications and Navigation (SCaN)

NASA’s Space Communication and Navigation program, or SCaN, serves as the program office for all of NASA’s space communications operations. Over 100 NASA and non-NASA missions rely on SCaN’s two networks, the Near Space Network and the Deep Space Network, to monitor Earth’s weather and effects of climate changes, support lunar exploration, uncover the solar system and beyond, and peer back in time to understand the origins of the universe.

Communicating with Missions about Space Communications and Navigation (SCaN)

Our Vision

SCaN aims to build and maintain a scalable integrated mission support infrastructure that can readily evolve to accommodate new and changing technologies, while providing comprehensive, robust, cost-effective and exponentially higher data rate space communications services to enable NASA's science, space operations and exploration missions.

Learn More about Our Vision
A 111-foot (34-meter) antenna points toward a bright blue sky. Mountains and several clouds can be seen in the background.

Focus Areas

SCaN provides communications and navigation services that are essential to the operation of NASA's spaceflight missions. Accordingly, SCaN has developed goals and objectives that support the program's role in the agency's long-term strategy.

A map graphic displays the location of all SCaN communications complexes around the world.

Services and Scheduling

SCaN offers a comprehensive set of standard services based upon its charter to provide communications and navigation for its customers from launch through the entire mission life cycle.

A 112-foot-wide antenna at Canberra Deep Space Communications Complex near Canberra, Australia.


SCaN is transforming its near space communications services and seeking to engage the commercial industry for both Direct-to-Earth and space relay communication services.

A rainbow and the word "SPECTRUM" overlays an image of a Deep Space Network antenna.

Spectrum Management

Virtually every endeavor that NASA undertakes requires communications or data transfer via the electromagnetic spectrum. NASA relies solely on the SCaN program to provide this vital service to all of its missions. 

Fall 2010, software engineers work in the background of the West High Bay area of the Power Systems Facility as Glenn Research Center technician, Joe Kerka rotates the SCAN Testbed flight enclosure assembly using a specially manufactured mount. Flight components can be seen inside the flight enclosure. The SCAN Testbed will be launched on a Japanese H–IIB Transfer Vehicle and installed on the International Space Station (ISS) providing an on-orbit, adaptable software-defined radio (SDR) facility with corresponding ground and operational systems. This will permit mission operators to remotely change the functionality of radio communications through software once deployed to space, offering them flexibility to adapt to new science opportunities and recover from anomalies within the science payload or communication system. This effort is sponsored by NASA’s Space Communications and Navigation (SCaN) Program as part of the Communications, Navigation, and Networking reConfigurable Testbed (CoNNeCT) Project led by Glenn Research Center.

Systems Engineering and Technology

SCaN is at the forefront of space communications and navigation technology development, pushing the boundaries of what's possible to better enable space and science missions.

ILLUMA-T and LCRD communicating over red laser links.

Optical Communications

NASA is developing optical, or laser, communications to address limitations of radio frequency communications, including: bandwidth, spectrum and overall size of frequency packages and power used.

An intern tests equipment in a quantum lab.

Quantum Communications

Rapid advances in quantum optics have recently enabled space-based demonstrations of new communications and networking technologies and protocols.

A mentor leans over the computer of two students who watch intently.


SCaN supports NASA's education goal of promoting Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) education.

GPS and PNT Policy

SCaN leads in the development of NASA’s overall navigation capability through spectrum coordination, data standards development, external coordination, and appropriate systems engineering, architecture development, and research and development of GPS applications.

A 230-foot (70-meter) antenna lights up a dark blue sky at dusk. The antenna is pointed toward the sky with dark mountains in the background.

Our Networks

Through our two networks, the Near Space Network and the Deep Space Network, SCaN enables over 100 NASA and non-NASA missions, including those close to home and those exploring beyond our solar system.

Communications Services Project

CSP aims to deliver innovative capabilities to meet NASA mission needs, while simultaneously supporting the growing commercial space communications market in the United States.

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LunaNet Interoperability Specification

The purpose of the LunaNet Interoperability Specification (LNIS) is to define a framework of mutually agreed-upon standards to be applied…

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Our Impact

From enabling the transfer of ground-breaking images and data from space to the scientific community, to the dissemination of new communications technologies to the public, NASA's SCaN program has made a broad and lasting impact on society.

Learn More About Our Impact about Our Impact
Image of an astronaut in space

NASA Centers Supporting SCaN

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Artemis I: Demonstrating the Capabilities of NASA’s United Networks

Editor’s note: This feature was updated on June 23, 2021 to reflect a reorganization of NASA network assets. On our journey…

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