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Exploration and Space Communications Projects Division / Code 450
8800 Greenbelt Road
Greenbelt, Maryland 20771
GREENBELT, MD - Around the world in 80 days? When Jules Verne wrote the novel, that seemed an impossible speed, but almost 150 years later, a NASA team has reduced the trip to minutes for data coming from some of today's spacecraft.
GREENBELT, MD - A NASA team has been tapped to build a new type of modem that will employ an emerging, potentially revolutionary technology that could transform everything from telecommunications, medical imaging, advanced manufacturing to national defense.
GREENBELT, MD: Spending nearly a year in space, 249 miles from Earth, could be a lonely prospect, but an office at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center made sure astronaut Scott Kelly could reach home for the entire 340-day duration of his mission.
Advanced communications for mission success...A brief look at the history of the ESC.
The Exploration and Space Communications (ESC) Projects Division at Goddard Space Flight Center plays a critical role in nearly every mission that NASA launches, yet they are often in the background. ESC directly connects explorers to their instruments by providing behind-the-scenes communications services that make scientific discoveries possible.
The ESC has a long and proud history. Not a single mission - manned or unmanned - has ever been compromised due to network failure. ESC's network services has always been there.
Space Communications started off as a ground network. By the time Astronaut John Glenn became the first American in orbit in 1962, NASA had already established 30 ground stations on five continents and several islands. The network continued expanding in the 1960s and 70s. However, it was still a ground based network with a limited view of orbiting spacecraft. This network could only provide a communication link for 10% to 20% of each orbit for any given satellite, meaning that for over 80% of every orbit, there was no way to communicate. With the advent of Tracking and Data Relay Satellite System in the 1980s, NASA's space flight tracking and communication network evolved into a full-fledged Space Network with a constellation of relay satellites and supporting ground terminals that could enable constant communication between orbiting spacecraft and the ground. In addition, ground based antennas continued to be employed to support scientific satellites that store the data they gather in on-board computer memory and only require minimal opportunities to ship this stored data to the ground..
In 2006, the Space Communications and Navigation (SCaN) program placed the three prime NASA space communications networks, Space Network (SN), Near Earth Network (NEN) (previously known as the Ground Network or GN), and the Deep Space Network (DSN), under one Management and Systems Engineering umbrella. ESC includes SN and NEN, while DSN is managed out of Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, CA.
An ever-increasing demand for higher bandwidths and lower-error-rates has driven the evolution of space communications. Still, information that astronauts and instruments gather is of no value if it cannot be returned to earth. ESC's network services will always be there to assist in getting the data back.
To read more about the amazing history of the ESC be sure to check out "Read you Loud and Clear!" by Sunny Tsiao.
Exploration and Space Communications Projects Division
Mission Statement: As a national resource, the ESC enables scientific discovery and space exploration by providing innovative and mission-effective space communications and navigation solutions to the large community of diverse users.
Vision: ESC will be leaders extending the reach of humanity's quest for discovery and passion for exploration through communications and navigation...
- Sought-out Experts
- Unbound Innovators
- Trusted Providors
ESC -- Advanced Communications for Mission Success