Communication & Navigation

Role in Scientific Discovery

Communication and Navigation

With advanced communication and navigation technologies, science missions can reach new targets and send more data back to Earth.


Benefit to JPL Mission

Advancements in communication and navigation mitigate data loss, reduce mission cost, and enable new mission types with multiple distributed assets or multiple targets.



Current communication and navigation technologies do not offer enough capacity or robustness for future missions. The risk of delays and disruptions increases as mission distance and complexity increases. Current navigation approaches involve time-consuming trajectory analysis that prolongs mission planning.



  • RF and Optical Communications: power amplifiers, telescopes and detectors for optical frequencies, and quantum communication
  • Disruption Tolerant Networks: routing algorithms, security, network management
  • Navigation and Mission Design: dynamical solar system models, optical ranging, deep space positioning


Read more about this topic in JPL's 2019 Strategic Technologies document.