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Answers Your Questions

From: Wayne K .McGarva, of Wantage NJ
To: Bill Reeves, flight director for the planning team

Question: I am a Technology Teacher in NJ. My students and I, along with another teacher are building a scale model of the Space Station. We are using the Internet and a digital camera for communications of material measurements and other important information. My goal is to introduce my sixth grade students to telecommunications and the Space program. My question deals with communications between Mission control , the Shuttle, and Space Station. How do you complete communications in space?

Answer: Wayne,
Thanks for your question. The Mission Control Center, in Houston, communicates with both the shuttle and the space station via the Tracking and Data Relay Satellite System (TDRS) that is managed at the White Sands Ground Terminal near Las Cruses, New Mexico. There are several ground sites around the world that the shuttle can take advantage of if need be but they are only backups to the TDRS network. The shuttle has two means of communication with the MCC via the TDRS network. The S Band system is the primary voice, command and telemetry system used while the Ku Band system is primarily used for high data rate telemetry from payloads or TV downlink. The station has a similar system for command and telemetry on the S Band. You may have heard some of the work the crew was doning to fix the station communications system called "Early Comm". This system had a problem with the downlink side of the system. This was replaced and it is working great.

Steve Sides - Planning INCO

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Curator: Kim Dismukes | Responsible NASA Official: John Ira Petty | Updated: 04/07/2002
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