A new era of space communications is in the making. NASA wants to redefine space communication mechanics. The agency has finally readied a new laser service. It aims to speed up space communications. The new laser service was scheduled to be readied two years earlier. However, it was delayed due to several challenges. It is called Laser Communications Relay Demonstration. NASA will demonstrate the new technology soon. It will be launched aboard the Atlas V-551 rocket on December 4. It will fly to space as a payload on a test satellite. NASA said that it will show new and unique capabilities of optical communications in space. It will increase the bandwidth required for sending and receiving signals in space. It will also cut the weight, size, and other requirements.
NASA said that Laser Communications Relay Demonstration will be its first space laser relay system. It will be end-to-end. The agency said that it will send and receive data over invisible infrared lasers. It will not use the radio frequency system for communication. The speed will be very high. The data will be exchanged at a speed of approximately 1.2 gigabits per second. It will communicate from geo-synchronous orbit. The orbit is Earth-centric. It matches the planet’s rotation on its axis which is 24 hours. The speed of almost 100 times higher than the speed of data is sent and received through the traditional radio frequency systems. NASA said that the new laser communications systems can be very helpful for future missions. It will offer extraordinary capabilities for the exchange of data.
NASA said that engineers will beam data between optical stations on Earth and the laser communication system. The will start beaming data when the new system is more than 22,000 miles from Earth’s surface. The experiment will allow engineers to refine the process of transmission. They will scrutinize different scenarios for operations and look for a perfect system for tracking. The mission was earlier due to be launched in 2019. NASA said that if the test is successful, it could be vital for the Artemis program. The agency has plans to land humans on Moon by 2025 under the program.