JPL DESCANSO - Deep Space Communications and Navigation Center of Excellence

Deep Space Communication Link Design Criteria through JPL History

Presented by:
Richard L. Horttor , Mars Express Project Manager and
Division 33 Chief Telecommunications System Engineer
California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA


The talk retraces the early history of communications link performance at PL with missions such as Ranger and Surveyor to the Moon and Mariners to Mars. These were the first of the very visible 'First Attempt' missions and had very little operational flexibility. As experience accumulated, confidence increased along with hardware maturation. The result was increased mission flexibility and a statistical approach. Most of the ideas were communicated to new engineers by osmosis in the days of only 3 missions at a time. With the advent of many missions at once, more formal means are required.

The Speaker

Richard has been manager of the NASA portion of Mars Express, since June of 2000. MEX is an ESA mission now at Mars. NASA provides co-investigators on all six instruments, DSN tracking support, and the RF portions MARSIS (Mars Advanced Radar atmosphere and ionosphere sounder). He has worked at JPL since July 1964 on Viking, SEASAT, Galileo, and Cassini. He was also a section manager in the Division.

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