Space travel entails travelling into outer space, and antennas are one of the many things that have made it a success. Antennas (sometimes called an aerial) can be either a receiver or a transmitter. A receiver catches radio waves and turns them into electrical signals while the transmitter does the opposite of a receiver. Therefore, Antennas are the key to virtually all forms of modern telecommunication including communication in space travel. Below are the various reasons why antennas have impacted space travel:
In space, telemetry is (currently) limited to radio signals only and it can be described as an automated wireless data transfer mechanism used by spacecrafts to transmit data back to earth. Sensors on the spacecraft collect the analog data consisting of science and engineering information modulated on radio signals, for example, a photograph of Mars, encodes and sends it back to Earth in real-time. This radio signals from the spacecraft are then received by Earth-based Control Systems, processed, decoded by more computers and distributed to the people controlling the flights as it is needed. With data streaming into the computers at a rate no human or group of humans could handle, the computer can pick out an error and bring it to the attention of the appropriate controllers for further assessment. The controller might issue a directive to correct the problem or have an astronaut make a correction or take some other action.
2. Radiometric tracking.
Radiometric tracking is used to provide a two-way communication between earth-based equipment and spacecraft to make measurements that will allow the velocity, the distance and position of the spacecraft to be determined. This two-way communication uses radio waves for the purpose of navigation.
3. Monitor and control.
The function of the monitor and control system is to provide real-time monitory data to flight controllers who have the necessary skills needed to monitor and control space missions. This data is used by the flight controllers to aid space flights by supervising the crew’s activities and monitor spacecraft systems, the safety and health of the crew members. Through monitoring and control of spacecrafts, operations proceed as planned as the flight controllers can analyze the data and respond to any unexpected events by taking control of the spacecrafts. Apart from spacecrafts, the flight controllers can also monitor and control robots such as the rovers that are on a space mission.
Antennas have therefore impacted space travel to a greater extent by providing a communication link between earth-based equipment and other equipment in space.