JPL DESCANSO - Deep Space Communications and Navigation Center of Excellence

Mars Network: An Orbital Relay Infrastructure for Mars Exploration

Presented by:
Dr. Chad Edwards
IND Mars Network Office


The coming decade of Mars exploration will involve a diverse set of robotic science missions, including high-resolution remote sensing orbiters, mobile in situ landers, and innovative scout-class missions. The fidelity of our understanding of the red planet will in many ways be defined by the telecommunications bandwidth we can offer to these robotic explorers. By utilizing on-orbit spacecraft to provide telecommunications relay services to assets on the Martian surface, several orders-of-magnitude improvement in data return can be achieved relative to conventional direct-to-Earth links. In this talk, Dr. Edwards will present an overview of the currently planned program of Mars exploration, describe the program strategies to increase telecommunications capability via an evolving network of Mars relay orbiters, and highlight key areas of technology development.

The Speaker

Chad Edwards currently serves as Chief Telecommunications Engineer for the Mars Exploration Program and as manager of the Mars Network Office in JPL's Interplanetary Network Directorate. Prior to that he managed the Telecommunications and Mission Operations Technology Office, overseeing a broad program of research and technology development in support of NASA's unique capabilities in deep space communications and mission operations. Earlier in his career, Dr. Edwards worked in the Tracking Systems and Applications section at JPL, where he carried out research on novel new radio tracking techniques in support of deep space navigation, planetary science, and radio astronomy.

Viewgraph Package   pdf