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Laser Communications Relay Demonstration : NASA

Laser Communications Relay Demonstration:

NASA recently demonstrated its Laser Communications Relay Demonstration (LCRD). It was launched in December 2021.

  • It is the agency’s first-ever laser communications system.
  • The LCRD will help the agency test optical communication in space.
  • LCRD is a technology demonstration that will pave the way for future optical communications missions.
  • The LCRD payload is hosted onboard the US Department of Defense’s Space Test Program Satellite 6 (STPSat-6).
  • It will be in a geosynchronous orbit, over 35,000km above Earth.
  • Optical communications systems are smaller in size, weight, and require less power compared with radio instruments.
  • A smaller size means more room for science instruments.
  • Less weight means a less expensive launch.
  • Less power means less drain on the spacecraft’s batteries.
  • With optical communications supplementing radio, missions will have unparalleled communications capabilities.