Near Space Network (NSN)
NASA’s Near Space Network fulfills the essential needs of user missions, empowering them with mission-critical communications and navigation services and enabling the transmission of science and exploration data to and from space. As a single point of service for missions in the near-space region — out to two million kilometers away — the network connects users with either government or commercial service providers.
As a single, end-to-end network, the Near Space Network orchestrates communications services, space links, and data transports for users. Additionally, the network serves missions throughout their entire lifecycle, providing requirements analysis, spectrum management, communications analysis, service agreements, mission design, mission planning, launch, operations, and post-mission support activities. As a result, the network ensures its users have robust and reliable services that fully support their mission objectives.
With the Near Space Network, missions no longer need to independently research service providers. The Near Space Network leverages the broad spectrum of capabilities available through government and commercial service providers and negotiates with providers on behalf of all missions to lower costs. Users can confidently rely on the expertise of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, which has a legacy of excellence in managing NASA communications services.
FOR CUSTOMER MISSIONS
As the Near Space Network implements commercialization goals, it will seamlessly transition current operational missions over to the network of hybrid government and commercial providers with no interruption to services. Services for missions currently in operations will continue as planned with no changes to their points of contacts. Over time, the Near Space Network will collaborate with these missions to methodically transition any services, space links, or data transport interfaces.
For missions launching prior to 2023 and defining their communications architecture, there is no change to their network integration points of contacts. The network integration team will work diligently to ensure seamless integration and operations support. Over time, the Near Space Network will collaborate to transition interfaces.
For missions in preformulation or early development phases — or those planning to launch after 2023 — engage with the Near Space Network as soon as possible. The network will establish communications and navigation service concepts, designs, and interfaces, setting the mission on the path towards success.
To begin working with the Near Space Network, please fill out our service inquiry form.
“The United States is committed to encouraging and facilitating the growth of a U.S. commercial space sector that supports U.S. needs, is globally competitive, and advances U.S. leadership in the generation of new markets and innovation-driven entrepreneurship.” - The United States 2010 National Space Policy Principles.
A Request for Information (RFI) for Commercialization of NASA Communications and Navigation Network for Direct-to-Earth Radio Frequency Services was released in July 2020. NASA seeks information from worldwide commercial industry about their current space communications capabilities. The responses to this RFI are being analyzed to formulate an acquisition approach for commercial service providers.
If you would like to be considered by the Near Space Network as a potential commercial services provider, please contact: email@example.com.
For more information about NASA’s commercialization effort, refer to this feature on the NASA website.
Since the dawn of spaceflight, space communications has played a critical role in NASA missions, connecting Earth to science and exploration data gleaned from space. In the earliest days of spaceflight, the electromagnetic landscape was relatively uncrowded, as there were a limited number of space and terrestrial spectrum users. As the number of users grew, so did NASA’s spectrum requirements, leading to the development of NASA’s spectrum program.
NASA spectrum offices work with commercial companies, other government agencies, and international partners to coordinate spectrum allotments for a wide variety of diverse space users. Thanks to these offices, NASA missions can reliably communicate with Earth without interference.
NASA’s Near Space Network, in collaboration with Goddard Space Flight Center’s Spectrum Office, handles spectrum management for its users. Per NASA policy and procedural requirements, any NASA satellite or communications system that requires the use of the electromagnetic spectrum for transmission, reception, or both shall follow U.S. and international spectrum regulations. This includes missions directly developed and operated by NASA and those supported through contracts or other financial agreements.
The Near Space Network and the Goddard Spectrum Management office provide support to projects at each review in their project lifecycle. They assist with design and spectrum considerations, such as frequency selection, conformance to regulatory constraints, and other electromagnetic spectrum parameters. They are also responsible for obtaining the required equipment certification and frequency authorization for all NASA missions using S-band frequencies.
Due to a lead time of three or more years, projects must discuss their communication and instrument spectrum requirements in order to avoid cost and schedule delays. For more information, contact:
Deputy Spectrum Manager
Richard S. Tseng
Goddard Spectrum Office