NASA will test its new laser communications technology this week, aimed at accelerating communications in space. Also known as optical communications, because they use light to send information, and compared to traditional radio frequencies, it will allow 10-100 times the data to be transmitted back to the earth. The space agency will launch the Laser Communication Relay Demonstration (LCRD) on December 5 and will report on the test site. It will be broadcast on various platforms, including NASA TV.
LCRD will be launched on the Space Test Program Satellite 6 (STPSat-6) of the US Department of Defense. Scientists hope that space missions using this new technology will prevent overcrowding of the radio spectrum. LCRD relies on the power of laser communication to transmit data. It uses infrared light instead of radio waves.
Where and how to watch
NASA said in a statement that the live broadcast will start on NASA TV, the agency’s website, and NASA apps on December 5 at 2 pm U.S. Standard Time.
Why do we need LSRD
Due to the increase in satellite constellations in low earth orbit, the overcrowding of the radio spectrum has increased exponentially. LCRD will increase the capacity and speed of data transmission. For context, LCRD will send data from a geosynchronous orbit to the earth at a rate of 1.2 gigabits per second (Gbps). At this speed and distance, users can download a movie in one minute. NASA explained that through laser communication, spacecraft can quickly send back more data.
This technology is also important because NASA and private-sector aerospace companies are planning a large number of space missions before the Artemis mission. Based on these missions, NASA will return to the moon to explore more moons than ever before. surface. Using this experience, it will try to send the first astronauts to Mars.
After a successful demonstration, LCRD will connect ground stations in Hawaii and California with the International Space Station.