JPL DESCANSO - Deep Space Communications and Navigation Center of Excellence

Mars Exploration Rovers Telecom Launch Preparation and Operation Strategy

Presented by:
Dr. Kar-Ming Cheung and Jim Taylor
Communications Systems Research Section (331)


With the first spacecraft being planned for launch in late May and the second less than a month later, the first Rover will start a 3-months mission on Mars' surface on January 4, 2004 and the second follows later that month. This mission promises to be a very intense experience for the flight team. In telecom, we will be planning surface activities and taking care of two spacecraft for up to 19 hours per day each, seven days the week. Each Rover will communicate via both an X-band direct link to the DSN and a UHF relay link to the Mars global Surveyor and Mars Odyssey orbiters. The Rovers include communication behavior in their flight software. The communications behavior can be thought of a data base in the form of half a dozen tables, with the X-band transponder, the dual X-band solid state power amplifiers, the UHF transceiver, and the several X-band and UHF antennas all controlled by timed activation of communications windows and the return to default modes. This talk focuses on topics related to MER telecom launch preparation and the planned strategy for cruise and surface operations.

The Speaker

Dr. Kar-Ming Cheung is a Technical Group Supervisor in the Communications Systems Research Section (331) at JPL. His group provides telecom analysis support for JPL missions, and develops the operational telecom analysis and predicts generation tools for current and future JPL missions.

Jim Taylor has represented telecom on flight teams for JPL deep space missions beginning with Mars Mariner '71. The major projects also include Viking Orbiter, Galileo, Deep Space 1, and Mars Exploration Rover (MER). Jim has shared this telecom experience in Descanso "Design and Performance Summary" articles for six missions. He looks forward very soon to working with the Communication Behavior in the MER X-band links and then the UHF relay links.

Viewgraph Package
  Part One
  Part Two    pdf