The U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is preparing to demonstrate the feasibility of using high-capacity laser communications in space.
The Laser Communications Relay Demonstration (LCRD), scheduled to launch in 2019, will shoot laser signals nearly 25,000 miles from a ground station in California to a satellite in geostationary orbit, then relay that signal to another ground station.
Separately, an upcoming NASA Discovery mission will include the Deep Space Optical Communications project, scheduled to launch in 2023. That mission will involve flying to a metallic asteroid and testing laser communications from much greater distance than LCRD.
Lasers have the potential to be an ideal means of communicating in the vacuum of space. The upcoming relay demonstrations "will allow us to test the performance over all different weather conditions and times of day and learn how to make the most of laser communications," says NASA's Dave Israel.
From Government Computer News
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