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Last updated on April 21, 2014 at 7:52 EDT

NASA’s Deep Space Network Turns 50 On December 24

December 21, 2013

NASA’s Deep Space Network turns the big 50 next week on Christmas Eve actually, another reason to celebrate. The network has been vital to nearly every mission that has went to the moon and beyond. It’s the way that astronauts communicate back to Earth and is responsible as well for data transmission. It began as the Deep Space Instrumentation Facility on Dec. 24, 1963, but has since expanded into the Deep Space Network. Historic statements transmitted through the network include “that’s one small step for man. One giant leap for mankind.” Deep Space Network has been so important to missions over the years that they coined the phrase “don’t leave Earth without us.”

[ Read the Article: December 24 Marks 50th Anniversary Of NASA’s Deep Space Network ]