Lunar Laser Communication System
MASSACHUSETTS INST OF TECH LEXINGTON LINCOLN LAB
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For more than 30 years, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration NASA has been pursuing the development of technologies that could greatly increase the amount of data returned from its deep-space science probes. The distances involved are up to thousands of times greater than those of traditional geosynchronous satellite-to-ground links. Optical communications, with its use of very narrow beams and extremely wide electromagnetic spectrum, has long been considered a promising solution to NASA s deep-space communication needs and is no longer an elusive option. On 17 October 2013, the Lunar Laser Communication System LLCS designed and built by MIT Lincoln Laboratory used a pulsed laser beam to transmit data over the 239,000 miles from the Moon to Earth at a record-breaking download speed of 622 megabits per second Mbps. The LLCS also achieved an uplink rate to the moon 5000 times that of radio technology. The LLCS, flown aboard NASA s Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer LADEE spacecraft, demonstrated not only the longest laser communication lasercom link ever created but also the most reliable lasercom link to ever bring data down through the atmosphere, all accomplished with a space terminal that has half the weight of and uses 25 less power than the most capable lunar radio systems.
- Non-Radio Communications