Thursday, August 11, 2005

Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter to Offer 6 Mbps Link

NASA successfully launched the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter on August 12 on a mission to provide a high-resolution survey of the planet. The spacecraft is designed to transmit data to Earth at rates as high as 6 Mbps -- ten times higher than previous Mars orbiters -- from a distance of 100 million kilometers (62 million miles). NASA expects the Orbiter to transmit more than 34 Terabytes of data over its two-year primary science mission. The orbiter's radio operates in the X-band of the radio spectrum, at a frequency of around 8 Gigahertz.

The Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter will also test a Ka-band (32 Gigahertz) telecommunications package, which allows much higher data rates to be transmitted and could be used for future missions.

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