Advanced Communications Capabilities for Exploration and Science Systems (ACCESS)


The Advanced Communications Capabilities for Exploration and Science Systems(ACCESS) project operates, maintains, and sustains NASA’s government-owned, contractor-operated ground- and flight-based systems. The project leverages NASA’s 60 plus years of communications and navigation expertise to ensure that missions can send their data back to Earth for scientific discovery.

The ACCESS project is a service provider to the Exploration and Space Communications’ Near Space Network, which orchestrates mission communications services through both government and commercial assets. For missions utilizing NASA’s government-owned, contractor-operated systems, NSN connects them with ACCESS services.

For increased efficiency, the ACCESS project combined NASA’s historic near space networks: the Space Network, a constellation of Tracking and Data Relay Satellites and associated ground stations, and the Near Earth Network, a global fleet of government and commercial direct-to-Earth ground stations.

Quick Facts

ACCESS transmits over 30 terabytes of data per day through the space-based relay and direct-to-Earth systems.
The space-based relay system operates 24/7, and provides approximately 500 hours of user service every day.
The direct-to-Earth system supports four separate radio frequency bands: VHF, S-band, X-band, and Ka-band.
ACCESS supports over 40 missions, from science to exploration, which are gathering critical data about our planet and the solar system.