The Near Earth Network (NEN, formerly GN or Ground Network) provides orbital communications support for near-Earth orbiting customer platforms via various NASA ground stations.
NASA's NEN consists of ground stations in:
- Merritt Island Launch Annex (MILA) and Ponce de Leon Ground Station (PDL), Florida
- McMurdo, Antarctica
- Wallops Island, Virginia
Also under contract are operators at Svalbard Satellite Station, Norway; Poker Flat Research Range and the Alaska Satellite Facility (ASF) in Fairbanks, Alaska; Santiago, Chile; South Point, Hawaii; North Pole, Alaska; and Dongara, Australia. Additionally, the MILA and Wallops stations provide pre-launch, launch, and landing communications support for the Space Shuttle program. The NEN and SN combined were previously referred to as the Spaceflight Tracking and Data Network (STDN).
Authority and responsibility
The NEN falls under NASA's SOMD (Space Operations Mission Directorate), interoperating with the SCaN Program offices. The Goddard Space Flight Center Ground Network Project has responsibility for maintaining the NEN, as well as implementing the Satellite laser ranging (SLR) Network.
Support for Constellation
The NEN was slated to support the Constellation Program, including the Ares launch vehicle, NISN (NASA Integrated Services Network), FDF (Flight Dynamics Facilities), KSC Launch Control Center, and the Constellation Mission Control Center (MCC). Constellation has since been canceled.
- Deep Space Network (DSN)
- Eastern Range (ER)
- Indian Deep Space Network (IDSN)
- Space Communications and Navigation Program (SCaN)
- Space Network (SN)
- Tracking and Data Relay Satellite (TDRS)
- NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Exploration and Space Communications Projects Division (August 2007). Space Network User's Guide (SNUG), 2.4, Supporting Elements Outside the SN, (e), "Ground Network (GN)" (Rev 9 ed.). National Aeronautics and Space Administration. p. 2.13. 450-SNUG.
- Constellation Architecture Requirements Document (CARD), CxP 70000, Revision C (December 25, 2008). NASA: Constellation Systems Engineering and Integration Office
- Space Network User's Guide (SNUG), 450-SNUG, Rev 9.
- NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center Near Earth Network Official Page