SPIE Membership Get updates from SPIE Newsroom
  • Newsroom Home
  • Astronomy
  • Biomedical Optics & Medical Imaging
  • Defense & Security
  • Electronic Imaging & Signal Processing
  • Illumination & Displays
  • Lasers & Sources
  • Micro/Nano Lithography
  • Nanotechnology
  • Optical Design & Engineering
  • Optoelectronics & Communications
  • Remote Sensing
  • Sensing & Measurement
  • Solar & Alternative Energy
  • Sign up for Newsroom E-Alerts
SPIE Photonics West 2019 | Call for Papers

2018 SPIE Optics + Photonics | Register Today



Print PageEmail Page

Optoelectronics & Communications

'Mars antenna" in Mojave Desert undergoing repairs

Los Angeles Times
11 October 2010

Deep Space Station 14 -- informally dubbed the Mars antenna because its initial task, in 1966, was to track a spacecraft after it flew past Mars -- spreads from the ground like a looming, 10-story poppy. Its most eye-catching element is its parabolic dish, which stretches nearly the length of a football field and weighs, struts and radio equipment included, nearly 2,000 tons.

In March, in anticipation of a series of spacecraft launches over the next five years that could lead to a manned flight to Mars, a major remodeling job began. The focus of the $5.6-million project, led by JPL and paid for by NASA, has been on the guts of the structure, an 80-foot-wide ring of steel and cement known as the hydrostatic bearing. It provides a foundation for the dish, allowing it to spin on a horizontal plane. Like a puck on slippery ice, the dish rotates by sliding on a thin coat of oil constantly pumped on the bearing's surface.

Full story from the Los Angeles Times