March 24, 2020: Stephen A. Townes WB4ILW: Deep Space Communication and the Deep Space Network

PLEASE NOTE: Because our meeting location is unavailable due to coronavirus concerns, this presentation will be webcast on the internet. For details, see the IMPORTANT NOTE at the top of this page.

This talk provides an introduction to Deep Space Communication — a little history and a little math related to the free space link equation; Brief look at the space (flight equipment) side; Brief description of the Deep Space Network with future plans; Brief discussion of the Mars Relay Network; What’s up with the Voyagers — everybody asks; The next chapter — optical communication.

Dr. Stephen Townes is the Chief Technologist of the Interplanetary Network Directorate and Manager of the Technology, Standards and Spectrum Program Office, at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL). He is currently the General Secretary and Chair of the Management Council of the Consultative Committee for Space Data Systems (CCSDS). During his career at JPL he has been the Deputy Manager of the Systems Concepts, Integration and Planning Office, Deputy Project Manager of the Mars Laser Communication Demonstration, Manager of the Communications Systems and Research Section, and an analyst for various projects related to the Deep Space Network. He is a Principal Engineer.

He has also worked at The MITRE Corporation, Bedford, MA, in adaptive signal processing for communications and radar and at Stanford Telecommunications, Inc., Mountain View, CA, as an analyst for GPS and digital communications systems.

He has a PhD, MS and BE in Electrical Engineering from North Carolina State University, Stanford University and Vanderbilt University respectively.

Steve is the current President of the JPL Amateur Radio Club (jplarc.ampr.org), holds an Advanced Class license, and was originally licensed in 1969 as WN4ILW. These days he can mostly be found on FT8 and FT4, 160m-10m (except 60 m—no transmitter).