The Near Earth Network (NEN, formerly GN or Ground Network) provides orbital communications support for near-Earth orbiting customer platforms via various ground stations, operated by NASA and other space agencies. It uses a number of different dishes scattered around the globe. The antennas must be able to move fast for tracking of objects in low Earth orbit (LEO). The NEN and Space Network (SN) combined were previously referred to as the Spaceflight Tracking and Data Network (STDN).[1]

Ground stations

NEN uses several stations run by NASA:

NEN uses Stations run by KSAT — Kongsberg Satellite Services:

NEN uses a Station run by SANSA — South African National Space Agency:

NEN uses Stations run by SSC — Swedish Space Corporation

Also under contract was Poker Flat Research Range. Additionally, the MILA and Wallops stations provide pre-launch, launch, and landing communications support for the Space Shuttle program.

Authority and responsibility

The NEN falls under NASA's SOMD (Space Operations Mission Directorate), interoperating with the SCaN Program offices. The Goddard Space Flight Center Ground Network Project has responsibility for maintaining the NEN, as well as implementing the Satellite laser ranging (SLR) Network.

Support for Constellation

The NEN was slated to support the Constellation Program, including the Ares launch vehicle, NISN (NASA Integrated Services Network), FDF (Flight Dynamics Facilities), KSC Launch Control Center, and the Constellation Mission Control Center (MCC). Constellation has since been canceled.

See also


  1. ^ NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Exploration and Space Communications Projects Division (August 2007). Space Network User's Guide (SNUG), 2.4, Supporting Elements Outside the SN, (e), "Ground Network (GN)" (Rev 9 ed.). National Aeronautics and Space Administration. p. 2.13. 450-SNUG.
  2. ^ "South Africa's new ground station to help NASA track space flights". Reuters. Retrieved November 17, 2022.
  3. ^ Deborah Faboade (November 8, 2022). "South Africa and NASA Renew Lunar Exploration Partnership". Space in Africa.