Feasibility of single and dual satellite systems to enable continuous communication capability to a manned Mars mission
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The National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s current proposed timeline for an interplanetary expedition is circa 2030. A manned Mars mission involves many complex requirements for communication with significant challenges including implementation, signal limitations, orbit requirements, and Earth-Sun-Mars occlusion. This analysis is focused on the potential advantages and disadvantages of potential orbits for maintaining communications with a manned mars mission. Areas analyzed will include signal limitations and possible improvements for Mars communication, through recommended frequency, the resulting signal to noise ratio, available channel capacity, and possible data rates of potential orbits. Ultimately, the purpose of this study is to determine (1) will one to two satellites be capable of maintaining continuous communication between a Mars orbit and a Mars ground mission, (2) will one to two satellites be capable of maintaining communication between Mars and Earth, likely through the Deep Space Network (DSN), (3) which frequency or frequencies will best suit Earth-Mars, and Mars relay communication, (4) how many satellites are necessary for continuous communication, including during Mars transit through the solar occlusion zone, and (5) what orbits are necessary to provide continuous communications throughout all the above mission regimes?
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