On NASA’s journey back to the moon, the Orion spacecraft will be integral. It looks remarkably similar to the Apollo capsule, which placed humanity on the moon in 1969, but Orion hosts many new, cutting-edge technologies and capabilities. Among them, the Laser-Enhanced Mission Communications Navigation and Operational Services (LEMNOS) project office will provide Orion with data rates as much as 100 times higher than possible through current systems.
The Orion EM-2 Optical Communications System (O2O) project, managed by LEMNOS, leverages optical communications technology for use on the next-generation Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle. The terminal will enable live, 4K ultra-high-definition video from the moon. By comparison, the Apollo cameras filmed only 10 frames per second in a grainy black-and-white. O2O will provide O2O with a “giant leap” in communications technology, allowing optical communications to join radio for NASA’s return to the Moon and journey beyond.The O2O project was originally named LEMNOS until a name change in 2017.