U.S. Government Agency Overseas Labs
US National Aeronautics and Space Adminstration's Jet Propulsion Laboratory undertakes research in radio-astronomy across its Deep Space Network that has two facilities in foreign countries. US Department of Energy’s Office of Science announced $30 million funding for US scientists to work at foreign energy fission research facilities.
NATIONAL AERONAUTICS AND SPACE ADMINSTRATION (NASA)
- The Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) is a NASA research laboratory whose focus is on conducting earth orbit and astronomy missions while engaging in research in radio-astronomy.
- The JPL runs the NASA Deep Space Network (DSN). The DSN is a network of ground stations that support NASA's space missions.
- NASA has three facilities in the Deep Space Network: Canberra Deep Space Communication Complex (CDSCC) in Canberra (Australia), Madrid Deep Space Communications Complex (MDSCC) in Madrid (Spain), and Goldstone Deep Space Communications Complex (GDSCC) in the United States.
How it works
- The CDSCC is run by the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) whereas the MDSCC is run by the Instituto Nacional de Técnica Aeroespacial (INTA).
- The DSN facilities are directed on operations, navigation, and research from the Deep Space Operations Center at JPL in Pasadena, CA.
- Given the national importance of space missions, CSIRO and INTA employ their nationals, Australians and Spaniards respectively, but also include international staff.
- The DSN substations are located 120 degrees apart, which ensures wherever a spacecraft is located in the universe it is always in contact with a substation.
- Each DSN substation is fitted with sensitive telecommunication equipment making the DSN the largest and most sensitive scientific telecommunication system globally that supports research in radio-astronomy.
DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY (DOE)
- The Department of Energy’s Office of Science drives America's leadership in science and technology through its support of research in physical sciences. In this role, it operates 10 national laboratories while it supports research for energy production and security.
- In 2019, DOE's Office of Science announced the funding of $30 million of funding for experimental research on magnetic fusion energy science. The research will be carried out at international tokamak facilities of ITER.
- ITER is an organization that draws its membership from China, the European Union, India, Japan, Korea, Russia, and the United States. It is a joint international experiment that seeks to develop energy fusion energy using a toroidal chamber with magnetic coils (tokamak).
How it works
- US scientists and engineers will work in existing facilities in the European Union and South Korea.
- In this regard, the US scientists will work under the management of the tokamak facilities that they will be assigned to. All ITER facilities coordinate and share research under the ITER framework.
- Leading research facilities in Europe and South Korea for the DOE funding are the Joint European Torus and the Mega Amp Spherical Tokamak in the UK, and the KSTAR (Korean Superconducting Tokamak Reactor) at the National Fusion Research Institute in Daejeon, South Korea. KSTAR produced its first fusion plasma in 2009 and has the pilot device for the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor project.
- Energy fusion can deliver limitless energy than can slow climate change. It is great for the environment as it does not produce greenhouse gases in addition to not requiring the use of plutonium. Importantly, it is much safer than energy fission, which is the current model of energy production at nuclear plants globally.
- Given its benefits, the United States requires to expand its knowledge of fusion energy that is still in its early stages of technology development. However, the development of fusion facilities takes decades to design, construct, and commission. As such, it requires the United States to work with other states to develop fusion technology.