The U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) wants to combine three space-based communication networks into a much faster, more efficient data network. NASA's overhaul aims to combine the Space Network, the Near-earth Network, and the Deep Space Network into a single entity that will be as much as 50 times faster than current data transfer rates.
The new network will use laser-driven optical communication that could enable transfer speeds of up to 600 megabits per second, according to NASA's Badri Younes. "It's like driving a 1960s Chevy that's beat up and losing paint while going at 90 mph, and being pushed to convert that into a Lamborghini while driving 90 mph without losing a beat," Younes says. He says the new network should be ready by 2018.
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