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GREENBELT, MD -- The space terminal for the Lunar Laser Communication Demonstration (LLCD), NASA's first high-data-rate laser communication system, was recently integrated onto the Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer (LADEE) spacecraft at NASA's Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, Calif.
GREENBELT, MD --- NASA's LCRD mission has successfully completed a Mission Concept Review, a major evaluation milestone of the engineering plan to execute the build and launch of a space communications laser system. The LCRD payload is scheduled for launch in 2017.
NEW YORK, NY -- As New York City embraced SpaceFest, a four-day celebration of space shuttle history and the arrival of Enterprise at the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum, Goddard put on display the future in space communications with a the Laser Communications Relay Demonstration (LCRD) Project.
For every NASA launch, radio frequency (RF) based communications have been the only viable medium for missions to send and receive spacecraft and science data. Granted, over the past 60 years, there have been dramatic improvements to this service, but missions now demand higher data rates to meet their data capture needs. NASA is now taking new steps to provide communication on a beam of laser light with systems that are compact enough for flight missions. Since wavelengths are more than 10,000 times shorter in optical bands than in radio bands, small telescopes and low-power lasers can be used for very-high-data-rate transmissions over long distances. NASA is currently developing laser communication ground and flight terminals for two different demonstration missions. As part of the upcoming Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer (LADEE) mission to the moon, the Lunar Laser Communications Demonstration (LLCD) will transmit of over 600 megabits per second (Mbps) using only a 10-centimeter telescope. The Laser Communication Relay Demonstration (LCRD) will leverage the experience gained from LLCD to perform long-term operational testing of laser communications from geosynchronous orbit.