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Mars Relay Communications Experiment

NSSDCA ID: 1996-062A-06

Mission Name: Mars Global Surveyor
Principal Investigator:Prof. Jacques E. Blamont


The Mars Global Surveyor Mars Relay is a communications link between the Earth or other orbiting spacecraft and various Mars surface lander and rover missions being planned by the U.S., Europeans, and Russians. It will allow high speed reliable communications to and from these surface instruments, without requiring them to have the capability of transmitting directly to Earth.

The Mars Relay consists of a 86 cm high, 2.5 kg quadrifilar helix fiberglass antenna mast mounted on the spacecraft and an electronics box and coaxial cable. The system receives data from the surface missions and routes them for storage to the large on-board storage memory buffer of the Mars Observer Camera (MOC). The stored transmissions are then routed to Earth via the MOC. The transmission frequency to the Mars ground stations is 437.1 MHz at 1.3 W. The recieve frequencies (from the stations) are 401.5 and 405.6 MHz. The antenna field of view ranges from limb to limb.

Alternate Names

  • MarsGlobalSurveyor/MarsRelayCommunicationsExperiment

Facts in Brief

Mass: 10.5 kg
Power (avg): 12.5 W
Bit rate (avg): 128 kbps

Funding Agencies

  • Centre National d'Etudes Spatiales (French Guiana)
  • NASA-Office of Space Science (United States)


  • Engineering: None assigned

Additional Information

Questions and comments about this experiment can be directed to: Dr. David R. Williams



NameRoleOriginal AffiliationE-mail
Prof. Jacques E. BlamontTeam LeaderCNRS, Service d'Aeronomie

Selected References

  • Taylor, J., et al., Mars Global Surveyor Telecommunications, in Design and Performance Summary Series, Article 1, JPL, Calif. Inst. Technol., Deep Sp. Comm. and Nav. Sys. (DESCANSO), Pasadena, CA, May 2001.
  • Callas, J. L., et al., The Mars Relay, JPL Technical Report Server, JPL, Calif. Inst. Technol., 2000.
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