Ka-band

Ka-band Telecommunications Experiment Package (Ka-band)

While en route to the red planet, Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter demonstrated the use of a radio frequency called Ka-band to enhance performance in communications using significantly less power.

Though the current standard in deep-space communication is a radio wave known as X-band, future spacecraft will incorporate radio systems utilizing the Ka-band of the radio spectrum. The Ka-band frequency is four times higher than X-band (32 gigahertz compared to 8 gigahertz), enabling transmission of much higher data rates. Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter carried a separate Ka-band radio to demonstrate this new capability for future missions.