PIA13563: A Heavy-Duty Jack for a Giant Task
 Target Name:  Earth
 Mission:  Goldstone Deep Space Network (DSN)
 Instrument:  Deep Space Station 14
 Product Size:  2560 x 1920 pixels (w x h)
 Produced By:  JPL
 Full-Res TIFF:  PIA13563.tif (14.76 MB)
 Full-Res JPEG:  PIA13563.jpg (553 kB)

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A major refurbishment of the giant "Mars antenna" at the Deep Space Network's Goldstone Deep Space Communications Complex in California's Mojave Desert required workers to jack up millions of pounds of delicate scientific equipment.

This image shows two of the 600-ton jacks used to lift part of the antenna as workers replaced one of the elevation bearings on March 18, 2010. Workers replaced four elevation bearings, which enable the antenna to tip up from the horizon and back down again. During each of these four replacements, two jacks held up a portion of the antenna weighing about 900,000 kilograms (2 million pounds).

Later, workers used 12 of these same jacks to replace the hydrostatic bearing assembly, which enables the antenna to rotate sideways. For the hydrostatic bearing replacement, the jacks raised about 3 million kilograms (7 million pounds) at once.

The bearing replacements were part of a major refurbishment of the Mars antenna that lasted from March to October 2010.

The 70-meter-wide (230-foot-wide) Mars antenna got its nickname comes its first task: tracking the Mariner 4 spacecraft after its historic flyby of Mars in 1966. The antenna's official name is Deep Space Station 14.

JPL, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, manages the Deep Space Network for NASA Headquarters, Washington. More information about the Deep Space Network is online at http://deepspace.jpl.nasa.gov/dsn/index.html.

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