The NASA Deep Space Network (DSN) is an international network of antennas that provide the communication links between the scientists and engineers on Earth to the missions in space and on Mars.
The DSN consists of three deep-space communications facilities placed approximately 120 degrees apart around the world: at Goldstone, in California's Mojave Desert; near Madrid, Spain; and near Canberra, Australia. This strategic placement permits constant observation of spacecraft as the Earth rotates on its own axis.
NASA's scientific investigation of the Solar System is being accomplished mainly through the use of unmanned automated spacecraft. The DSN provides the vital two-way communications link that guides and controls these planetary explorers, and brings back the images and new scientific information they collect. All DSN antennas are steerable, high-gain, parabolic reflector antennas.
The antennas and data delivery systems make it possible to:
Acquire telemetry data from spacecraft.
Transmit commands to spacecraft.
Track spacecraft position and velocity.
Perform very-long-baseline interferometry observations.
Measure variations in radio waves for radio science experiments.
Gather science data.
Monitor and control the performance of the network.
The network is a facility of NASA, and is managed for NASA by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. The Interplanetary Network Directorate (IND) manages the program within JPL.