Laser Comm - That's a Bright Idea

The Laser Communications Relay Demonstration.

The Laser Communications Relay Demonstration (LCRD) is a NASA mission to use laser light to transfer data from orbit to ground and all around the Solar System.[1]


The LCRD mission was selected for development in 2011, with launch on board a commercial satellite scheduled for 2017.[2] The technology demonstration payload will be positioned above the equator, a prime location for line-of-sight to other orbiting satellites and ground stations. 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. Alternatively, numerous NASA studies have shown that a laser communications system will use less mass and power than a radio frequency system for the same data rate.[3]

The LCRD mission is managed by NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center.[3]

Precursor missionEdit

LADEE's LLCD optical module rendering

Depiction of the optical module of the LLCD

The concept was first tested in outer space aboard the Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer (LADEE) orbiter in 2013. LADEE's Lunar Laser Communication Demonstration (LLCD) pulsed laser system conducted a successful test on October 18, 2013, transmitting data between the spacecraft and its ground station on Earth at a distance of Template:Convert/round kilometres (239,000 mi). This test set a downlink record of 622 megabits per second (Mbps) from spacecraft to ground, and an "error-free data upload rate of 20 Mbps" from ground station to spacecraft.[4][5] It has also been proposed as payload for the Phobos And Deimos & Mars Environment (PADME) orbiter.[6]

See alsoEdit


External linksEdit

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