JPL DESCANSO - Deep Space Communications and Navigation Center of Excellence

Working to Fix the Huygens Relay Link

Presented by:
Dr. Les Deutsch
Technology Program Integration Office (850)


When the Cassini spacecraft reaches the Saturnian system and passes by the moon Titan, it will release the Huygens probe. Huygens will descend through Titan's thick cloudy atmosphere and make a soft landing on its surface. Huygens will take images and physical measurements which it will relay to Cassini for later transmission to Earth. Unfortunately, an anomaly was found last year in the relay receiver on board Cassini. This receiver is not capable of tracking the data stream under the kinds of Doppler expected during the probe's flight. To make things worse, there is almost nothing that can be modified on the Cassini relay receiver! However, all is not lost. The Huygens Recovery Task Force, a joint NASA/ESA group, is working to develop solutions. This talk will address the problem and some potential solutions.

The Speaker

Dr. Deutsch received his Ph.D. in Mathematics from Caltech in 1980, the year he came to JPL. He did research in Section 331, was the Section Manager for a time, and then managed the TMOD Technology Program. Les led the initial team and co-led the main effort to develop the methods used to recover the Galileo mission when its high gain antenna failed to deploy. He currently manages the Technology Program Integration Office in TAP. Les also is one of the instigators of DESCANSO.

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