Madrid Deep Space Communication Complex (MDSCC)
|Organization||INTA / NASA / JPL|
|Location||Robledo de Chavela (near Madrid), Spain|
|Related media on Wikimedia Commons|
Deep Space Network
The MDSCC is part of NASA's Deep Space Network run by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. The facility contributes to the Deep Space Network's mission to provide the vital two-way communications link that tracks and controls interplanetary spacecraft and receives the images and scientific information they collect. The complex is one of three NASA Deep Space Network complexes in the world, located at separations of approximately 120° longitude so that a spacecraft will always be in sight of at least one station; the others are the Goldstone Deep Space Communications Complex located in California, near the city of Barstow, and the Canberra Deep Space Communication Complex in Australia which is close to the city of Canberra.
The complex also serves some missions of the European Space Agency.
The antennas and data delivery systems make it possible to:
- Acquire telemetry data from spacecraft.
- Transmit commands to spacecraft.
- Track spacecraft position and velocity.
- Perform Radio Astronomy (both single-dish and very-long-baseline interferometry) observations.
- Measure variations in radio waves for radio science experiments.
- Monitor and control the performance of the Deep Space Network.
The complex has seven large parabolic antennas, called DSS-61, DSS-54, DSS-55, DSS-63, DSS-65 and DSS-66.
|DSS-61||34-meter||In late 1999 DSS-61 was deactivated, and in February 2001 NASA transferred the antenna to create the PARTNeR Project.|
|DSS-54||34-meter||beam waveguide antenna|
|DSS-55||34-meter||beam waveguide antenna|
|DSS-63||70-meter||Built in 1974 as a 64-meter antenna, and upgraded to 70 metres in the late 1980s. It can transmit in S and X-band with a power up to 400 kilowatts and receive in L, S, and X bands. DSS-63 weighs a total of 8000 tons, whereby the dish has a weight of 3500 tons. Its reflecting surface is 4,180 square metres (45,000 sq ft).|
|DSS-65||34-meter||Built in 1987. It is a HEF (high-efficiency) antenna. It can transmit in X-band with a maximum power of 20 kW and receive in S- and X-band. The weight of DSS-65 is 400 tons, whereby the dish weighs 350 tons.|
|DSS-66||26-meter||The antenna was used in support of near-Earth missions and the early orbit phase of deep-space missions. This antenna was moved in 1983 from the nearby Fresnedillas NASA tracking station, prior to that station being shut down in 1985. It was decommissioned in 2009.|
- Official Site at JPL
- Blog of the scientists manning the station
- How the station works, alone and within the DSN (interactive graphic, in Spanish)
- Official Site at ISDEFE, operator of MDSCC at Robledo