/* ---- Google Analytics Code Below */

Saturday, December 04, 2021

Laser Space Communications Sat to be Launched

 New aims to improve solar system wide communications.

How NASA's new laser communications mission will work in space    in Space.com

By Elizabeth Howell about 5 hours ago

The goal is to speed up solar system communications.

A "data hunger" in space is driving the launch of a new laser communications mission, a NASA official told Space.com.

The Laser Communications Relay Demonstration will launch on the United States Space Force Space Test Program 3 (STP-3) mission no earlier than Dec. 5 at 4:04 a.m. EST (0904 GMT). You can watch the rocket launch Sunday online courtesy of United Launch Alliance, which is flying the mission on an Atlas V rocket.

"This will be our first foray into understanding, what does it mean to use lasers to communicate and really connect directly to Earth and space users?" Jason Mitchell, Director of SCaN Advanced Communications & Navigation Technology Division at NASA, told Space.com in a recent video interview.

LCRD will help NASA learn about possible effects to manage, ranging from atmospheric turbulence to cloud deflection, Mitchell noted. The timing is crucial as NASA and its international partners expand its exploration focus over the coming decades.

Newly announced private space stations will only expand the need for fast information flowing to and from Earth. Meanwhile, astronauts on the moon and a sample return mission on Mars could benefit from faster communications speeds 10 to 100 times faster than current-day radio.

LCRD and forthcoming laser demonstrations a little further from Earth, Mitchell said, will help figure out how to operate lasers from a hub such as a moon base. In turn, he said, the "learning experience at the moon [will show] how we would look to operate this at Mars — as well as in any other location, really, in space where you have a central spot that you really want to collect a lot of data from."

LCRD will operate from geosynchronous orbit at 22,236 miles (35,786 kilometers) to test out laser communications for at least two years. The demonstration is meant to demonstrate the sustainability of longer space missions after several brief, successful attempts to try laser comms in space. 

Making sure the mission outlasted the stresses of launch and space radiation for years, instead of a few weeks of months, was top of mind during the design process, Mitchell said.  ... ' 

No comments: