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The American space agency NASA is launching a groundbreaking technology demonstration known as the Integrated LCRD Low Earth Orbit User Modem and Amplifier Terminal (ILLUMA-T) to the Space Station

  • ILLUMA-T is approximately the size of a standard refrigerator.
  • It will be secured to an external module on the International Space Station to conduct its demonstration with Laser Communications Relay Demonstration LCRD.
  • The ILLUMA-T, along with the LCRD was launched in December 2021 will complete NASA’s first two-way, end-to-end laser relay system.
  • Once ILLUMA-T is on the space station, the terminal will send high-resolution data, including pictures and videos, to LCRD at a rate of 1.2 gigabits per second.
  • It is scheduled to launch on SpaceX’s 29th Commercial Resupply Services mission for NASA.
  • After its launch, ILLUMA-T will be installed on the station’s Japanese Experiment Module-Exposed Facility (JEM-EF).
  • Benefits:
    • Laser communications enable missions to transmit more data in a single transmission.
    • More science and exploration data from space allow NASA to make more discoveries about our planet, microgravity, and the human spaceflight experience.