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Published March 2004 | Published
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The 6-meter breadboard antenna for the deep space network large array


Development of very large arrays of small antennas has been proposed as a way to increase the downlink capability of the NASA deep space network (DSN) by two or three orders of magnitude thereby enabling greatly increased science data from currently configured missions or enabling new mission concepts. The current concept is for an array of 400 x 12-m antennas at each of the three longitudes. The DSN array utilizes radio astronomy sources for phase calibration and has wide bandwidth correlation processing for this purpose. A program is currently underway to develop the technology and prove the performance and cost of a very large DSN array. The program includes a 3-element interferometer to be completed by late 2004. This paper describes the design and development of the low cost 6-meter breadboard antenna to be used as part of the interferometer.

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© 2004 IEEE. The research was carried out at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, under a contract with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

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