Spacecraft Tracking and Data Acquisition Network

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Orroral Valley STADAN control panel, at the National Museum of Australia

The Spacecraft Tracking and Data (Acquisition) Network (STADAN or STDN) was established by NASA to satisfy the requirement for long-duration, highly-available space-to-ground communications. Real-time operational control and scheduling of the network was provided by the Network Operations Control Center (NOCC) at the Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC) in Greenbelt, Maryland.[1]

Consisting of parabolic dish antennas and telephone switching equipment deployed around the world, the STADAN provided space-to-ground communications for approximately 15 minutes of a 90-minute orbit period. This limited contact period sufficed for unmanned spacecraft, but manned spacecraft require a much higher data collection time. In May 1971 STADAN was consolidated with the Manned Space Flight Network (MSFN) to form the Spaceflight Tracking and Data Network (STDN).[2]


STADAN stations were at:

Later developments[edit]

Most of the STADAN stations were phased out in the early 1980s, as the Tracking and Data Relay Satellite System (TDRS), took over most of the work of tracking satellites in near earth orbit.[3] Another network, the Deep Space Network (DSN), interacted with manned craft higher than 10,000 miles from Earth, such as the Apollo missions, in addition to its primary mission of data collection from deep space probes.

External links[edit]

  • "STDN User's Manual" - Goddard Space Flight Center, (NASA-TM-X-72932) STDN User's Manual N75-78163, Baseline Document (NASA) 124 pages, UNCLAS 00/98 03939
  • GSFC X-202067-26 William R. Corliss (1967). Evolution of the Satellite Tracking And Data Acquisition Network (STADAN).
  • NASA CR-140390 - William R. Corliss (June 1974). Histories of the Space Tracking and Data Acquisition Network (STADAN), the Manned Space Flight Network (MSFN), and the NASA Communications Network (NASCOM).
  • NASA SP-2007-4233 - Sunny Tsiao (2007). "Read You Loud and Clear!" The Story of NASA's Spaceflight Tracking and Data Network.
  • Network stations list


  1. ^ STDN User's Guide, Baseline Document, Rev. 2, Goddard Spaceflight Center: Greenbelt, MD, May 1974, p. 1-1
  2. ^ STDN User's Guide, Baseline Document, Rev. 2, Goddard Spaceflight Center: Greenbelt, MD, May 1974, p. 1-9
  3. ^ "Tracking-station closings scheduled," Science News, Vol. 117, No. 2. (Jan. 12, 1980), p. 27.