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General Dynamics Snags NASA Antenna Modernization Contract

January 19, 2011
By George Seffers

General Dynamics SATCOM Technologies received a $40.7 million contract from the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) to build two additional 34-meter (112-foot wide) beam waveguide antennas as part of NASA's modernization and transformation plan to continue scientific studies of the Earth as well as explore distant bodies in the solar system. The new antennas will be located at the Deep Space Network facility in Canberra, Australia. Originally designed by JPL and built by General Dynamics, the antennas enable the Deep Space Network to communicate with existing flight missions such as the Mars Exploration Rovers, Spitzer Space telescope, Saturn explorer Cassini, as well as support future NASA space missions. Beam waveguide-style antennas house sensitive electronics and systems in a room that is inside of the antenna's ground-based pedestal rather than in the center of the dish or reflector, making it easier for technicians to maintain the equipment as well as implement technology upgrades.