About the Facility

Put into service during the early days of Sputnik in 1963 to support the world's first satellite navigation system, APL's Satellite Communications Facility (SCF) is one of the oldest operational ground stations in the world. The facility consists of two independent operational antenna systems (18.3 m and 5 m) and provides commanding, ranging, telemetry and Doppler tracking services for spacecraft missions from numerous sponsor organizations. The SCF supports spacecraft in low Earth orbit (LEO), geosynchronous orbit (GEO), highly elliptical orbit (HEO), lunar orbit and deep space (out to 2.5 astronomical units, or 2.5 times the average distance between Earth and the Sun). The SCF also serves as a platform for APL engineers and scientists to conduct research and development projects as well as special communication experiments.