Usuda Deep Space Center


Usuda Deep Space Center is a facility of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency.[1] It is a spacecraft tracking station in Saku, Nagano,[1] opened in October, 1984. The main features of the station are two large beam waveguide antennas,[2] an older 64 meter antenna and a newer 54 meter dish.

Usuda Deep Space Center
The 64 m antenna at Usuda Deep Space Center.jpg
The 64 meter antenna at the Usuda Deep Space Complex
Coordinates36°07′59″N 138°21′44″E / 36.13306°N 138.36222°E / 36.13306; 138.36222Coordinates: 36°07′59″N 138°21′44″E / 36.13306°N 138.36222°E / 36.13306; 138.36222
Altitude1,456 m
Usuda Deep Space Center is located in Earth
Usuda Deep Space Center
Location of Usuda Deep Space Center
Related media on Wikimedia Commons

Usuda was the first deep-space antenna constructed with beam-waveguide technology. Although this construction dramatically simplifies installation and maintenance of electronics, it was previously thought to offer poor noise performance.[3] However, after the U.S. Jet Propulsion Lab (JPL) tested this antenna and found the noise performance was better than its conventional 64-meter antennas,[4] it too switched to this method of construction for all subsequent antennas of their Deep Space Network (DSN).

Similar huge antennas are used by the deep space networks of the USA, China, Russia, Europe, and India.

Because the 64 meter antenna is aging, JAXA has built a new antenna nearby. This new antenna, called GREAT (Ground Station for Deep Space Exploration and Telecommunication)[5] will be slightly smaller (54 meters in diameter) but have better surface accuracy and hence be capable of working at the higher Ka-band frequencies. This will increase the potential data throughput despite the smaller size.[6]

Public Access ClassificationEdit

  • General public: Observation of exterior installation and access to exhibition room
  • Special access: None specified. (An explanation of the UDSC communications are conducted during special public access events conducted by Sagamihara Campus).
  • Research Utilization: National Cooperative Research Institute, National University Cooperative Research Institute, International Cooperative Research Institute (access via the Space Sciences Research Institute)


  1. ^ a b "Usuda Deep Space Center". JAXA.
  2. ^ Hayashi, T.; Nishimura, T.; Takano, T.; Betsudan, S.I.; et al. (1994). "Japanese deep-space station with 64-m-diameter antenna fed through beam waveguides and its mission applications". Proceedings of the IEEE. IEEE. 82 (5): 646–657. Bibcode:1994IEEEP..82..646H. doi:10.1109/5.284732. ISSN 0018-9219.
  3. ^ Layland, J.W. & Rauch, L.L. (1995). "The Evolution of Technology in the Deep Space Network: A History of the Advanced Systems Program" (PDF). National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology. p. 5. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2011-06-14.
  4. ^ Neff, D. Use of a 2.3-GHz Traveling-Wave Maser on the Usuda 64-Meter Antenna (PDF). TDA Progress Report 42 (Technical report). Vol. 89. JPL. pp. 34–40.
  5. ^ "GREAT, Ground Station for Deep Space Exploration and Telecommunication". JAXA.
  6. ^ "Toward a New Era of Deep Space Exploration: Kenji Numata, Project Manager, Ground Station for Deep Space Exploration and Telecommunication Project". JAXA. 2017.