To the Moon and Beyond: Deep Space Communications at NASA

Seminar: To the Moon and Beyond

WIoT Institute was pleased to host Marc Sanchez Net, Telecommunications Engineer at NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, who introduced us to deep space communications systems, technologies, and practices currently used at NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory to operate missions across the solar system. 

During his conversation, the attendees had the opportunity to learn about the following topics: 

  • Specific examples of missions supported by the Deep Space Network (both for communication and navigation) and how relay operations are performed at Mars via the Mars Relay Network.
  • Special communication schemes used for critical events such as Mars entry descent, landing, and solar conjunction, as well as summarize current efforts to demonstrate optical communications in deep space(1 astronomical unit and beyond).
  • Challenges in lunar communication systems, specifically in the area of multi-path fading, a phenomenon well-understood on Earth but uncommon in space communications.
  • Efforts conducted to date to understand and characterize multi-path channels at planetary scales and describe modeling efforts and empirical studies conducted to validate them.
  • How this data is being used to design direct-with-Earth links between the lunar South Pole and the Deep Space Network in support of NASA’s ARTEMIS program.


About the Invited Speaker


Marc Sanchez Net

Marc Sanchez Net is a telecommunications engineer in the Communication Architectures and ResearchSection at JPL, working at the intersection of systems engineering and space communications. He is involved in a wide variety of projects spanning all layers of the protocol stack, from the physical layer to the network layer and above.

He is the lead researcher modeling and characterizing multi-path channels experienced between spacecraft landed near the lunar South Pole and Earth, an atopic of interest at NASA given the pool of missions expected to land in that region in the near future.

Marc is also the lead systems engineer for a new DeepSpace Network (DSN) demand access service for deep space operations and regularly contributes other tasks related to the DSN, Mars Relay Network, and individual JPL and NASA missions.

Marc received his Ph.D. in Aerospace in 2017 from MIT and holds degrees in telecommunications and industrial engineering from the Universitat Politecnica de Catalunya, Barcelona.

In 2020, he received the NASA Early Career Public Achievement Medal for his contributions to the VIPER mission and the Human Landing System. In 2022 he received the JPLExplorer Award for his systems engineering leadership in the area of space communications.

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