January 01, 2019
Dave Israel, Phil Liebrecht, Don Cornwell, Greg Heckler

NASA’s Space Communications and Navigation (SCaN) program office’s vision of a fully interoperable network of space communications assets is known as the Decade of Light. Through relentless advancement of current technologies, NASA is progressing toward a future of seamless mission enabling space communications and navigation. This futuristic, interoperable system will include the development of optical communications, wideband Ka-band, hybrid optical and radio frequency (RF) antennas, user-initiated services (UIS), a cognitive network with disruption-tolerant networking (DTN) capabilities and autonomous navigation. This vision, although vastly complex, will introduce dramatic increases in performance and is already being worked at NASA Headquarters, NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, NASA’s Glenn Research Center, and Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Teams from around the country continue to investigate and strive for innovative solutions to the many complex challenges space communications and navigation faces.