Free Newsletters - Space News - Defense Alert - Environment Report - Energy Monitor
. 24/7 Space News .




TECH SPACE
Laser Demonstration Reveals Bright Future for Space Communication
by Dewayne Washington for Goddard Space Flight Center
Greenbelt MD (SPX) Dec 27, 2013


NASA Administrator Charles Bolden congratulates the LLCD team on their successful demonstration of laser communications in a video that was relayed via laser to and from the moon. Image Credit: NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center.

The completion of the 30-day Lunar Laser Communication Demonstration or LLCD mission has revealed that the possibility of expanding broadband capabilities in space using laser communications is as bright as expected.

Hosted aboard the Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer known as LADEE, for its ride to lunar orbit, the LLCD was designed to confirm laser communication capabilities from a distance of almost a quarter-of-a-million miles.

In addition to demonstrating record-breaking data download and upload speeds to the moon at 622 megabits per second (Mbps) and 20 Mbps, respectively, LLCD also showed that it could operate as well as any NASA radio system. "Throughout our testing we did not see anything that would prevent the operational use of this technology in the immediate future," said Don Cornwell, LLCD mission manager at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md.

For example, LLCD demonstrated error-free communications during broad daylight, including operating when the moon was to within three degrees of the sun as seen from Earth. LLCD also demonstrated error-free communications when the moon was low on the horizon, less than 4 degrees, as seen from the ground station, which also demonstrated that wind and atmospheric turbulence did not significantly impact the system. LLCD was even able to communicate through thin clouds, an unexpected bonus.

Operationally, LLCD demonstrated the ability to download data from the LADEE spacecraft itself. "We were able to download LADEE's entire stored science and spacecraft data [1 gigabyte] in less than five minutes, which was only limited to our 40 Mbps connection to that data within LADEE" said Cornwell.

Using LADEE's onboard radio system would take several days to complete a download of the same stored data. Additionally, LLCD was to prove the integrity of laser technology to send not only error-free data but also uncorrupted commands and telemetry or monitoring messages to and from the spacecraft over the laser link.

LLCD also demonstrated the ability to "hand-off" the laser connection from one ground station to another, just as a cellphone does a hand-off from one cell tower to another. An additional achievement was the ability to operate LLCD without using LADEE's radio at all.

"We were able to program LADEE to awaken the LLCD space terminal and have it automatically point and communicate to the ground station at a specific time without radio commands. This demonstrates that this technology could serve as the primary communications system for future NASA missions," said Cornwell.

The ability of LLCD to send and receive high definition video was proven with a message from NASA Administrator Charlie Bolden, completing the trip to the moon and back with only a few seconds of delay.

"Administrator Bolden's message demonstrates NASA's support for advancing this technology for both space and Earth applications," said Cornwell. "It also allowed the LLCD team to showcase the quality and fidelity of our HD video transmissions over our laser communication link to and from the moon."

Cornwell acknowledged that the LLCD mission is another great example of NASA partnerships with outside organizations to advance unproven technologies. He credits the work of Don Boroson and his team at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Lincoln Laboratory (MIT/LL) in Lexington, Mass., for developing and operating both the space and ground laser communications terminals for LLCD.

"We could not have made such great strides without the work of our partners at MIT/LL," Cornwell said. "Their years of work and knowledge produced a communications system that far exceeded our expectation."

NASA's follow-on mission for laser communications will be the Laser Communications Relay Demonstration (LRCD). Also managed at Goddard, LCRD will demonstrate continuous laser relay communication capabilities at over one billion bits per second between two Earth stations using a satellite in geosynchronous orbit.

The system also will support communications with Earth-orbiting satellites. More importantly, LCRD will demonstrate this operational capability for as long as five years, thus building more confidence in the reliability of this laser technology.

"We are very encouraged by the results of LLCD," said Badri Younes, NASA's deputy associate administrator for Space Communications and Navigation (SCaN) in Washington, which sponsored the mission. "From where I sit, the future looks very bright for laser communications."

So it appears NASA could be making the next paradigm shift in communications in the not too distant future. The same technology that has vastly upgraded our broadband connections on Earth could be expanding communications possibilities for NASA in the not-too-distant future.

.


Related Links
LLCD
LADEE
SCaN
Space Technology News - Applications and Research






Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle




Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News





TECH SPACE
Sailing satellites into safe retirement
Paris (ESA) Dec 21, 2013
When satellites reach the end of their working lives, they may pose a threat to other spacecraft as they continue to orbit in a dormant state for many decades. But now a new way to deorbit ageing satellites in a safe manner is nearing its first test in space. In the future, satellites might carry a packaged ultra-lightweight 'gossamer sail' to open as they head towards retirement. The increa ... read more


TECH SPACE
Chang'e 3 Lander and Rover From Above

China's moon rover "sleeps" through lunar night

Will the Moon be carved-up?

NASA Releases New Earthrise Simulation Video

TECH SPACE
'Mars One' will reveal if there is life outside Earth

Mars One mission: big work ahead

Curious Results from Mars

Potential Martians: Mars One selects 1,058 hopefuls among 200,000 applicants

TECH SPACE
Only lawyers profit as tech giants go to war over patents

Space trips open to Chinese travelers

Work on NASA's New Orion Spacecraft Progresses as Engineers Pivot to 2014

Official: Iran to Send Astronaut into Space in 2024

TECH SPACE
China launches communications satellite for Bolivia

China's moon rover continues lunar survey after photographing lander

China's Yutu "naps", awakens and explores

Deep space monitoring station abroad imperative

TECH SPACE
Station Cosmonauts Complete Spacewalk to Deploy Cameras

Russian cosmonauts Kotov and Ryazansky complete ISS spacewalk

Expedition 38 Sends New Year's Greetings on Off-Duty Day

Station's Replacement Pump Successfully Restarted

TECH SPACE
Antares Launch Scheduled For Jan 7

Russian Rocket Puts Telecoms Satellite Into Orbit

The Athena-Fidus satellite is readied for Arianespace first heavy-lift mission of 2014

Boeing, Energia Achieve Mixed Results in Counterclaims

TECH SPACE
NASA's Hubble Sees Cloudy Super-Worlds With Chance for More Clouds

Researchers use Hubble Telescope to reveal cloudy weather on alien world

Using an Atmosphere to Weigh a Planet

Gaia Mission Could Help Map Exoplanets

TECH SPACE
Solitons in a crystal

Resistance makes waves

Laser Demonstration Reveals Bright Future for Space Communication

Throwing out the textbook: Salt surprises chemists




The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2014 - Space Media Network. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement