JPL DESCANSO - Deep Space Communications and Navigation Center of Excellence

How to Fix the Huygens Relay Link

Presented by:
Dr. Les Deutsch
Chief Engineer, Interplanetary Network and Information Systems
Jet Propulsion Laboratory


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 that 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, has developed a solution that is being implemented by the NASA and ESA projects. This talk will present an update on the understanding of the anomaly (presented at a Descanso seminar in February) and present the recommendations of the team.

The Speaker

Dr. Les 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 is now the chief engineer for the newly reorganization 900 Directorate. Les also is one of the instigators of DESCANSO.

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