The Deep Space Network was established in 1958 at JPL, under contract of the US Army at the time. In December of that year, JPL transferred from the Army to the newly created NASA to consolidate and separate developing space programs from the military to civilian organizations. Shortly after the transfer, the concept for the Deep Space Network formed, responsible for its own research and development to accommodate all missions into deep space. Since then, it has grown into the world leader of the development of dishes, satellites, antennas, signal processing, deep space navigation, and many other areas of space technology. The Deep Space Network’s largest antennas are the go to for spacecraft emergencies, famously during the Apollo 13 mission, preventing great tragedy. Aside from US missions, in the spirit of international cooperation in space, the DSN offers emergency service to other space agencies as well. Many rescue missions, including the recovery of the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory SOHO would not have been possible without the DSN.
Three primary facilities on Earth provide NASA’s DSN an unobstructed view of the cosmos at all times:
Location: Mojave Desert, California
Notable Features: Five Large Antennas
Location: Robledo de Chavela, Spain
Notable Features: Seven Large Parabolic Antennas