AT&T announced the win of an interesting government contract today. NASA has tapped the telecommunications giant to provide a high speed VPN hooking up the giant radio antennas of the Deep Space Network.
The DSN has 3 locations around the world, carefully spaced at 120 degrees apart. One lies in California, another in Spain, and the third in Australia. That placement allows NASA to always have the ability to communicate with its spacecraft out in the solar system, as at least one will have it in view as the planet rotates and wobbles through its days and seasons. At the time this article was written, the dish shown to the left was pointed at Voyager 1, which was launched in 1977 and is now some 20.61 billion kilometers away (that’s a 1.59 day RTT latency).
AT&T’s VPN will enable NASA to triple the bandwidth they had previously been limited to in communicating with the radio antennas, with additional expansion built in.
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