JPL DESCANSO - Deep Space Communications and Navigation Center of Excellence

The Square Kilometer Array: How Will You Use it for Communications and Navigation?

Presented by:
Dr. Dayton Jones and Michael Connally
Telecommunications Science and Engineering Division
Jet Propulsion Laboratory


Large arrays of antennas is the only technology that promises orders of magnitude improvement in sensitivity (G/T) at radio frequencies. Arrays are already used in the Deep Space Network (DSN), in Radio Astronomy (e.g., the Very Large Array (VLA)), and recently the SETI Institute began building an array of 360 antennas. The Radio Astronomy community has plans to build an array with a square kilometer of collecting area. The Square Kilometer Array (SKA) will provide over a hundred times the sensitivity of today's best single aperture telescopes, up to one hundred independent beams, and reception over a wide RF bandwidth. Radio Astronomers are motivated by the enormous potential such an array has for probing the farthest reaches and ancient history of the universe. But this array also has enormous potential when applied to deep space communications, navigation, and science currently done with the DSN. It could increase the data rate from spacecraft by a factor of 100 or more, provide new navigation observables, and vastly improve the quality of Radio Science and Planetary Radar observations. This breakthrough in tracking station performance could be exploited to support previously inconceivable science and mission concepts. The Square Kilometer Array will be built. How will you use it?


Dr. Dayton Jones

Dayton Jones received an M.S. in Scientific Instrumentation from UCSB in 1976 and an M.S. and Ph.D. in Astronomy from Cornell in 1981. He was a Research Fellow in the VLBI group at Caltech and an NRC Research Associate at JPL until joining the JPL staff in 1986. He is currently a Principal member of the technical staff in the Astronomical Measurements Group. He is an author on over 150 papers in the scientific literature, most of which are based on applications of radio interferometry.

Michael Connally

Michael Connally received his BS in Physics from California State University, Sacramento in 1982. He received his M.S. in Electrical Engineering from the University of Southern California, Los Angeles, California, in 1993. Since 1982, he has been employed at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena California. Mr. Connally worked as telemetry system analyst for the Deep Space Network, he helped design and implement Radio Science experiments on the Voyager, Mars Observer, and Mars Global Surveyor projects. Currently he is the Science Services System Development Engineer for the Deep Space Mission System (DSMS).

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