The Near Space Network provides missions within one million miles of Earth with robust communications services. Using a blend of government and commercial assets, the network supports science, human spaceflight, and technology demonstration missions exploring our planet and the solar system. This data is gathered through global direct-to-Earth antennas systems and a fleet of relay satellites.
Where is the NSN located?
The Near Space Network is comprised of ground stations across the globe and our Tracking Data and Relay Satellite system in geosynchronous orbit.
Our ground stations provide Direct-to-Earth (DTE) communications while TDRS satellites provide near continuous bent pipe information relay services to over 25 missions like the Hubble Space Telescope, the International Space Station and many of our Earth-observing missions like Global Precipitation Measurement, Terra and Aqua.
Locations of Near Space Network ground stations and Track Data and Relay Satellites.
Tracking Data and Relay Satellites
TDRS, or the Tracking and Data Relay Satellite system, is a constellation of geosynchronous satellites over the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian Oceans
The TDRS constellation provides near-continuous relay services to over 25 missions including the Hubble Space Telescope, the International Space Station, and many of NASA’s Earth-observing missions such as Terra and Aqua.
Inside the Astrotech facility in Titusville, Florida, the payload fairing for NASA’s Tracking and Data Relay Satellite, TDRS-M, is moved into position to encapsulate the spacecraft. TDRS-M is the latest spacecraft destined for the agency’s constellation of communications satellites that allows nearly continuous contact with orbiting spacecraft ranging from the International Space Station and Hubble Space Telescope to the array of scientific observatories.
NSN Services and Scheduling
Human space exploration helps to address fundamental questions about our place in the Universe and the history of our solar system.
NASA’s Space Communications and Navigation (SCaN) program offers a comprehensive set of standard services based upon its charter to provide communications and navigation services over the full operational life cycle of a mission from launch to de-orbit. The NSN fulfills the essential needs of near-space user missions, empowering them with mission-critical communications and navigation services, and enabling the transmission of science and exploration data from space to Earth.
With four new antennas around the globe, the Near Space Network is advancing its capabilities to support science and exploration missions that use enhanced instrumentation. Now, missions using the network will be able to send back terabytes of data for processing and discovery.
SCaN Now displays real time communication links between NASA spacecraft and the Near Space Network ground stations and TDRS satellites. You can explore which NSN facilities are talking with our spacecraft right now!