3 Pioneer Data Acquisition and Preparation

Discussions of radio science experiments with spacecraft in the solar system require a general knowledge of the sophisticated experimental techniques used by NASA’s Deep Space Network7 (DSN). Specifically, for the purposes of the Pioneer Doppler data analysis one needs a general knowledge of the methods and techniques implemented in the radio science subsystem of the DSN. One also needs an understanding of how spacecraft telemetry is collected at the DSN, distributed and used to assess the state of the spacecraft systems at a particular epoch.

Since its beginnings in 1958, the DSN underwent a number of major upgrades and additions. This was necessitated by the needs of particular space missions8. The history of the Pioneer 10 and 11 projects is inextricably connected to that of DSN. Due to the continuing improvements of the entire network, Pioneer 10 was able to communicate with the project team for over 30 years – far beyond the originally planned operational life of 3 years or less.

In this section, we discuss the history of the DSN, its current status, and describe the DSN antennas and operations in support of deep space missions. We also review the methods and techniques implemented in the radio science subsystem of the DSN that is used to obtain the radio tracking data, from which, after analysis, results are generated.

 3.1 The Deep Space Network
  3.1.1 DSN tracking stations
  3.1.2 Antennas of the DSN
  3.1.3 DSN receivers
  3.1.4 DSN transmitters
  3.1.5 Data communication
 3.2 Acquisition of radiometric Doppler data
  3.2.1 DSN frequency and timing system
  3.2.2 The digitally controlled oscillator and exciter
  3.2.3 Receiver and Doppler extractor
  3.2.4 Metric data assembly
  3.2.5 Radiometric Doppler data
  3.2.6 Pioneer Doppler data formats
 3.3 Available Doppler data
  3.3.1 Pioneer Doppler data available in 2002
  3.3.2 The extended Pioneer Doppler data set
 3.4 Doppler observables and data preparation
  3.4.1 Doppler experimental techniques and strategy
  3.4.2 Data preparation
  3.4.3 Data weighting
  3.4.4 Spin calibration of the data
 3.5 Pioneer telemetry data
  3.5.1 MDR data integrity and completeness
  3.5.2 Interpreting the data
  3.5.3 Available telemetry information

  Go to previous page Go up Go to next page