Madrid Deep Space Communications Complex

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Madrid Deep Space Communication Complex
View of the complex, and the 70m antenna.
Madrid Deep Space Communication Complex (MDSCC)
Organization INTA / NASA / JPL
Location Robledo de Chavela (near Madrid), Spain
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Altitude 720 m
Established 1961

The Madrid Deep Space Communications Complex (MDSCC) is a ground station located in Robledo de Chavela, Spain, and operated by the Instituto Nacional de Técnica Aeroespacial (INTA).

Deep Space Network

It is part of NASA's Deep Space Network run by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory.[1] The facility contributes to the Deep Space Network's ability to provide the vital two-way communications link that tracks and controls spacecraft and receives the images and new scientific information they collect. This complex is one of three NASA Deep Space Network complexes in the world; the others are the Goldstone Deep Space Communications Complex located in California, near the city of Barstow, and the Canberra Deep Space Communication Complex in Australia which is close to the city of Canberra.


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 Radio Astronomy (both single-dish and very-long-baseline interferometry) observations.
  • Measure variations in radio waves for radio science experiments.
  • Monitor and control the performance of the Deep Space Network.


Antennas at the Madrid Deep Space Communication Complex

The complex has five antennas, called DSS-54, DSS-55, DSS-63, DSS-65 and DSS-66.[2]

Photo Name Diameter Notes
DSS-54 34-meter beam waveguide antenna
DSS-55 34-meter beam waveguide antenna
Madrid Deep Space Network Complex.jpg DSS-63 70-meter Built in 1974 as a 64-meter antenna, and upgraded to 70 metres in the late 1980s. It can transmit in S and X-band with a power up to 400 kilowatts and receive in L, S, and X bands. DSS-63 weighs a total of 8000 tons, whereby the dish has a weight of 3500 tons. Its reflecting surface is 4,180 square metres (45,000 sq ft).
DSS-65 34-meter Built in 1987. It is a HEF (high-efficiency) antenna. It can transmit in X-band with a maximum power of 20 kW and receive in S- and X-band. The weight of DSS-65 is 400 tons, whereby the dish weighs 350 tons.
DSS-66 26-meter The antenna was used in support of near-Earth missions and the early orbit phase of deep-space missions. This antenna was moved in 1983 from the nearby Fresnedillas NASA tracking station, prior to that station being shut down in 1985. It was decommissioned in 2009.

See also


External links