What is LCRD? It is Laser Communications Relay technology, which NASA aims to fly on a test mission within four years and will be used in near-earth and deep-space human and robotic missions. Space laser communications technology has the potential to provide 10 to 100 times higher data rates than traditional radio frequency systems for the same mass and power. In short, laser communications could boost space data transmission rates from the speeds of dial-up to broadband.
The technology is directly applicable to the next generation of NASA’s space communications network. After the demonstration, the developed space and ground assets will be qualified for use by near-Earth and deep space missions requiring high bandwidth and a small ground station reception area.
When launched, NASA’s technology demonstration payload will be positioned above the equator, a prime location for line-of-sight to other orbiting satellites and ground stations. Positioning LCRD aboard the commercial communication satellite platform is a cost effective approach to place LCRD in orbit. The Loral satellite will provide the right location, space availability, and power systems needed to conduct the space laser communications tests.
If you are interested in this topic, ATI offers Satellite Laser Communications course that will be presented on February 5-7, 2012 in Columbia, MD.
You can submit your registration here.