How does NASA communicate with spacecraft?
It is very rare for a mission to be constantly tracked and DS1 is not an exception. For this and other reasons, most spacecraft, like DS1, have been provided with one or more data storage devices such as tape recorders. The storage devices are commanded to play out their stored data for downlink when the Deep Space Network (or DSN) resources are available.
With all of the many satellites there are in space already, getting time to use the DSN is really difficult. DS1 is getting differerent amounts of time on DSN at different stages of its mission. For most of the mission it will be getting one 8 hour window per week (or perhaps two). Extra time will be given early in the mission while the performance is being checked. Extra time will also be given when DS1 is doing a flyby. Remember, the DSN runs 24 hours a day, which shows how many things there are to track in the sky!
What is the Deep Space Network?
How long does it take for transmissions to get between DS1 and Earth?
How often is DS1 in communication with Earth?
What is a satellite?
What kind of data is DS1 sending back?
How do the instruments and sensors coordinate sending signals?
How much data is DS1 able to transfer?
How is data processing managed?