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Mars Planetary Network for Human Exploration Era – Potential Challenges and Solutions

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dc.contributor.author Tai, Wallace S.
dc.contributor.author Abraham, Douglas S.
dc.contributor.author Cheung, Kar-Ming
dc.date.accessioned 2020-05-01T16:13:48Z
dc.date.available 2020-05-01T16:13:48Z
dc.date.issued 2018-05-28
dc.identifier.citation The 15th International Conference on Space Operations (SpaceOps), Marseille, France, May 28 - June 1, 2018 en_US
dc.identifier.clearanceno 18-2002
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/2014/48192
dc.description.abstract During 2016-2017, a study was conducted under the sponsorship of the NASA’s Space Communications and Navigation (SCaN) Program to investigate the deep space communications capacity taking into account the needs of all the present and envisioned future missions toward 2030s. It was soon recognized that planning for human exploration to Mars would impose certain unprecedent challenges, both fiscal and technical, to the current space communications paradigm. Targeting the assumed missions concepts, i.e., Crewed Mission to Phobos (CMTP) and Mars Short Stay Mission (MSSM), a Mars Planetary Network for the human exploration era has been formulated. The activity modeling and network traffic simulation/modeling we performed gave some insight into the technical challenges in space communications for the envisioned human Mars exploration era. Chief among the potential challenges are: (1) the high demand on the deep space network (DSN) assets for achieving the high-rate links, both return and forward, from Mars farthest/farther distance (up to 2.67 AU); (2) the need for resilient, persistent communication coverage for crewed vehicles, on surface and in orbits; (3) the significant period of outage for the Mars-Earth link due to superior solar conjunction; (4) the need for on-demand, simultaneous access to the proximity link by multiple vehicles and astronauts in the exploration zone; (5) the capability of determining precise, real-time, positions of surface vehicles and astronauts by the deep space habitat and/or other tele-operations entities. Solution space to each of the above challenges has been explored and analyzed in the context of the individual problem domain and, more importantly, in conjunction with that for the other challenges. This has led to an end-to-end definition of a Mars Planetary Network that would feature: (1) the fusion of deep space Ka-band and optical communications for achieving Mars-Earth high-rate links taking advantage of the optical/RF hybrid 8m/34m antennas in DSN; (2) the integrated application of the Multiple Spacecraft Per Antenna (MSPA) technique, for return link data acquisition, and the Multiple Uplink Per Antenna (MUPA) technique, for forward link data trasnmission, to reduce the number of 34m beam-wave guide (BWG) antennas needed for the era; (3) the integration of three, arrayed, 34m beam-wave guide (BWG) antennas, to provide a high G/T aperture, with the MSPA/MUPA techniques, and a dual “trunk link”approach to cut down the needed G/T -- hence, reducing the number of 34m antennas, relative to that in the single trunk approach by 50%; (4) the deployment of two areostationary/areosynchronous Mars relay orbiters; one of them could also function as (or be served by) a notional Deep Space Habitat (DSH); (5) the opportunistic deployment of a science orbiter in a Pioneer-6 type orbit, equidistant Mars/Earth, that could also serve as an intermediary relay during the Mars superior solar conjunction perod; (6) the existence of the multi-function Mars proximity link that provides the demand-assigned, multiple access (DAMA) capability; and (7) the provision of tracking observables, by leveraging on the planned Mars orbiting and surface infrastructure, to enable the in-situ navigation for surface and orbiting vehicles. This paper provides the description of the proposed Mars Planetary Network in the human exploration era, the trade-off analysis for the various alternative architectures, and the optimal solutions to the key challenges in defining this end-to-end network. en_US
dc.description.sponsorship NASA/JPL en_US
dc.language.iso en_US en_US
dc.publisher Pasadena, CA: Jet Propulsion Laboratory, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, 2018 en_US
dc.title Mars Planetary Network for Human Exploration Era – Potential Challenges and Solutions en_US
dc.type Preprint en_US


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