Skip to main content

Space Communications and Navigation (SCaN)

The Space Communications and Spectrum Management Office at NASA’s Glenn Research Center in Cleveland, Ohio manages the planning, formulation, implementation, and integration of technology projects and communication system analysis capabilities supporting NASA’s Space Communications and Navigation (SCaN) capabilities. SCaN serves as the headquarters Program Office for all NASA’s space communications activities, including ground based facilities and services, and is responsible for the development of space communications and navigation technology.

NASA’s requirements for access to the radio frequency spectrum began with the formation of the agency in 1958 and have evolved and grown over the decades to include a wide array of programs and applications. Spectrum Management is an agency-wide function performed by NASA Glenn Research Center that includes both domestic and international coordination and protection of spectrum used for communications and passive sensing. This function involves the development and execution of spectrum policy and relevant analysis functions.

Glenn Research Center performs technology development for a wide range of SCaN capabilities. The 2021 catalog of active technology projects includes:

  • Cognitive Communications – Autonomy and resiliency techniques applicable to space communication links, networks, and provider scheduling
  • HDTN – High rate delay- and disruption-tolerant networking capabilities for in-space communications relays and user terminals
  • iROC – A beaconless optical transceiver with integrated Ka-band capabilities for deep space deployment
  • Lunar LTE Studies – Metrology and analysis in support of integrating terrestrial LTE communication for use in the lunar environment
  • Quantum Communication – Metrology and development of multiple quantum communication techniques, including quantum memory
  • RealTOR – A high-rate, real-time optical communication receiver capability for ground implementation
  • SKOUT – An Active Phased Array antenna for near-earth Ka-band communications
  • STRS – Ongoing refinement of NASA-STD-4009, the open architecture standard for NASA software-defined radios
  • Wideband – A Ka-band software-defined radio terminal capable of seamless communication with government and commercial provider networks

More information on some of these technology projects can be found below.

Provide feedback