The US and China are currently caught in a war over supremacy in global telecommunications. This isn’t limited to Earth but also involves Deep Space Networks (DSNs). “Typically, a DSN is a triad of large radio communication antennae that are placed at angles of 120 degrees from each other all around the Earth,” explained Giri. As the planet rotates, the antennae communicate with interplanetary spacecraft without interruption.
Indian satellite-launch vehicles and satellites are currently dependent on ground-based services. For most of their major missions — including Chandrayaan 1, Mars Orbiter Mission and Chandrayaan 2 — ISRO relied on NASA’s DSN triad across California, Spain and Australia.
“India, therefore, must initiate diplomatic engagements with friendly countries in the eastern and
western hemispheres that can host two DSN antennae for it in addition to an existing 32-metre antenna located in Byalalu near Bengaluru,” recommends Giri. With these antennae in place, it will be able to establish independent communications capabilities for distant interplanetary missions.