For NASA's Interplanetary Network, what does a packet look like? It's obviously a form of redundant protocol, stored at the receiver and with built back up. Is there any documentation on the packet structure or the communication protocol, which has to span 14 minute communications?

2 Answers 2


From the wiki-page:

Communications: Curiosity is equipped with significant telecom redundancy with several means of communication – an X band transmitter and receiver that can communicate directly with Earth, and a UHF Electra-Lite software-defined radio for communicating with Mars orbiters.

You'll probably find the exact information you're looking for in these two pdfs:


I don't know about packet structure, but the basic enabling technology is Reed-Solomon coding. "NASA Tech Briefs" has had articles about this in the past.

  • + 1 for Reed-Solomon. Its also used by ESA in their missions.
    – NWS
    Aug 10, 2012 at 8:58

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