Nasa's Laser Moon Mission To Boost Space Communication

Tuesday, 31 December 2013, 12:31 Hrs
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Washington: Nasa has completed its 30-day lunar laser mission which confirmed 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 (LADEE), for its ride to lunar orbit, the Lunar Laser Communication Demonstration (LLCD) mission was designed to confirm laser communication capabilities from a distance of almost a quarter-of-a-million miles, Nasa said.

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.

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.

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Source: PTI
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