A new way to “talk” to Earth from space

A new way to “talk” to Earth from space

Madrid, May 13. (Europe Press) –

NASA plans to launch this summer Technological demonstrator of laser communication from space denominado LCRD (Laser Communication Relay View).

With the increasing human and robotic presence of NASA in space, missions can take advantage of a new way to “talk” to the Earth that greatly speeds up the process of transmitting data. As reported by the space agency.

Will allow laser connections It transmits data to Earth 10 to 100 times more than current radio frequency systems. It would take about nine weeks to send a complete map of Mars back to Earth using existing radio frequency systems. With the laser, this will take about nine days.

What’s more, Laser communication systems are ideal for tasks as they require less volume, weight and power. Less mass means more space for scientific instruments, and less power means less draining of spacecraft power systems. All of these are critical considerations for NASA when designing and developing mission concepts.

“LCRD will demonstrate all the benefits of using laser systems and allow us to learn how to best use them in operations,” said lead investigator David Israel at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. With this proven ability, We can begin to implement laser communications in more missions, Making it a standardized way to send and receive data. “

The infrared light used in laser communication differs from radio waves because the infrared light packs data in significantly narrower wavelengths, which means that ground stations can receive more data at one time. While laser communications are not necessarily faster, more data can be transmitted on the downlink.

Space laser communication stations use a narrower beamwidth than radio frequency systems, Providing smaller “footprints” can reduce interference Or, improve security by greatly reducing the geographical area where someone could intercept a communications link.

However, the laser communications telescope pointed at a ground station It must be accurate when sent from thousands or millions of miles. A deviation of even a fraction of the degree can cause the laser to completely lose its target. NASA laser communications engineers intricately designed laser missions to ensure that this connection could occur.

It is in geosynchronous orbitAt 36,000 kilometers above the ground, the LCRD will be able to support missions in the near-Earth region. LCRD He will spend his first two years testing laser communications capabilities With many experiences to improve laser technologies.

The LCRD initial trial phase will benefit the mission ground stations in California and Hawaii, and Optical Earth Stations 1 and 2, as simulated users. This would allow NASA to assess atmospheric turbulence in the laser and practice changing support from one user to another. After the trial phase, the LCRD will continue to support space missions, sending and receiving data to and from satellites through infrared lasers. To demonstrate the benefits of a laser communication relay system.

The first LCRD user in space will be ILLUMA-T (modem, low-Earth orbital LCRD amplifier and amplifier), which will be launched to the International Space Station in 2022. The station will receive high-quality scientific data from experiments and instruments through the space station’s board and then transmit this data To 1.2 Gbps LCRD. Then the LCRD sends it to the earth stations just as quickly.

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LCRD is a file NASA payload Aboard the US military satellite STPSat-6, scheduled to be launched on the Atlas V missile from Cape Canaveral.

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