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Artemis 1 moon mission squeezing communications with JWST

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Two major NASA missions that have launched in the past year are revealing a communications weakness in space.

NASA communicates with all of its distant spacecraft — from the Orion capsule to the James Webb Space Telescope (Webb or JWST) to Voyager 1 — through the Deep Space Network, a collection of 14 antennas located at three sites in California, Spain and Australia. But the network is busy, and ensuring that every mission beyond Earth orbit has the communications time it needs can be tricky, an issue that the Artemis 1 mission has exacerbated.

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