General Atomics Partners with Space Development Agency to Demonstrate Optical Intersatellite Link

SAN DIEGO, CA, June 5, 2020 (General Atomics PR) — General Atomics Electromagnetic Systems (GA-EMS) announced today that it has partnered with the U.S. Space Development Agency (SDA) to demonstrate and conduct a series of experiments for an Optical Intersatellite Link (OISL) utilizing GA-EMS’s internally developed 1550nm (nanometer) wavelength laser communication terminals (LCTs).

This will be one of the first Department of Defense contracted efforts to develop and deploy a state-of-the-art 1550nm LCT to test capabilities to increase the speed, distance, and variability of communications in space.

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NASA Laser Communications Project Running Behind Schedule, Over Budget

Laser Relay Data Demonstration project (Credit: Universities Space Research Association)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

A NASA project to demonstrate advanced optical laser communications in space is running nearly $50 million over budget and 14 months behind schedule, according to a recent assessment by the Government Accountability Office (GAO).

The Laser Communications Relay Demonstration (LCRD) project is designed to advance optical communication technology for use on near-Earth and deep space missions.

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ESA Data-relay Satellite Ready for Service

Artist’s impression of EDRS system in space. (Credit: DLR)

PARIS (ESA) — The second node in the most sophisticated laser communication network ever designed is ready to go into service.

Dubbed the “SpaceDataHighway”, the European Data Relay System (EDRS) helps Earth-observing satellites to transmit large quantities of potentially life-saving data to Europe in near-real time.

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Space Micro Wins $3M Lasercom Award at USAF Space Pitch Day

SAN DIEGO (Space Micro PR) — At the USAF Space Pitch Day, Space Micro received a $3M award by the USAF Space and Missile Center (SMC) for the development of modified laser secure communications terminals to be used for upcoming Air Force missions.

The U.S. Space and Missile Systems Center (SMC) conducted its Pitch Day to enable the quick acquisition of technologies for military use. Dr. Will Roper, assistant secretary of the Air Force for acquisition, technology and logistics has championed these rapid acquisition events.

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NASA Prepares for Moon and Mars With New Addition to Its Deep Space Network

This artist’s concept shows what Deep Space Station-23, a new antenna dish capable of supporting both radio wave and laser communications, will look like when completed at the Deep Space Network’s Goldstone, California, complex. (Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

FORT IRWIN, Calif. (NASA PR) — Surrounded by California desert, NASA officials broke ground Tuesday, Feb. 11, on a new antenna for communicating with the agency’s farthest-flung robotic spacecraft. Part of the Deep Space Network (DSN), the 112-foot-wide (34-meter-wide) antenna dish being built represents a future in which more missions will require advanced technology, such as lasers capable of transmitting vast amounts of data from astronauts on the Martian surface. As part of its Artemis program NASA will send the first woman and next man to the Moon by 2024, applying lessons learned there to send astronauts to Mars.

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Mynaric Wins €1.7 million Contract to deliver Satellite Constellation Laser Communication Terminals

  • Mynaric announces deal for the delivery of multiple space laser communication terminals worth EUR 1.7m
  • Contract confirms market demand for Mynaric’s cost-effective, serially produced laser communication inter-satellite product designed for mega-constellations

Munich, October 17, 2019 (Mynaric PR) – Mynaric (Frankfurt Stock Exchange: M0Y, ISIN: DE000A0JCY11) has announced today that it will deliver multiple laser communication flight terminals to an undisclosed customer in an initial deal valued at EUR 1.7 million ($1.9 million).

The company’s space products are scheduled to be launched on a product validation mission which will serve as a pathfinder to integrate and qualify Mynaric’s products with the customer’s satellites.

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JAXA, Sony CSL to Conduct In-Orbit Demonstrations of Long-Distance Laser Communication Using ISS Kibo Module

Figure 1: SOLISS system flight model (Credit: JAXA/Sony CSL)

TOKYO (JAXA PR) — The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA, President: Hiroshi Yamakawa) and Sony Computer Science Laboratories, Inc. (Sony CSL, President and CEO: Hiroaki Kitano) have announced their plans to conduct in-orbit demonstrations of the long-distance laser communication system, which they have jointly developed with the aim of establishing a real-time, mass-data communication system for future inter-satellite communications and communications with ground stations.

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Blue Canyon Provides CubeSats for NASA Lasercom Demo Mission

BOULDER, Colo. (Blue Canyon Technologies PR) –Small satellite manufacturer Blue Canyon Technologies (BCT) announced it has been selected by NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate’s Small Spacecraft Technology program and NASA’s Ames Research Center in California’s Silicon Valley, in collaboration with the University of Florida and MIT, to provide multiple 3U spacecraft for its CubeSat Lasercom Infrared Crosslink (CLICK) flight demonstration missions.

The CubeSats will be used for separate demonstration missions: the first is a laser space-to-ground demonstration mission and the second will demonstrate laser crosslinks and ranging in low-Earth orbit.

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NASA Awards ATLAS Space Operations Space Relay Partnership and Services Study Contract

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (ATLAS Space Operations PR) — ATLAS Space Operations, Inc., a leading innovator in communications for the space industry, today announced NASA has awarded it a contract for the Space Communications and Navigation (SCaN) Program’s Space Relay Partnership and Services Study. Prime contractor ATLAS partnered in its proposal with Laser Light Communications, Inc, a leader in advanced optical communications and data distribution via its proprietary HALO Global Network.

Both firms are founders of the Empower Space Alliance. As part of the contract, ATLAS will explore ways to help NASA enable new and greater scientific discovery, improve communication and navigation services, and reduce development and operations costs for both networks and missions.

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NASA Demos CubeSat Laser Communications Capability

Optical Communications and Sensor Demonstration (OCSD) Spacecraft Configuration. OCSD differs from other space-based laser communication systems because the laser is hard-mounted to the spacecraft body, and the orientation of the CubeSat controls the direction of the beam. This makes the laser system more compact than anything previously flown in space. (Credit: NASA/Ames)

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. (NASA PR) — Two NASA CubeSats teamed up on an impromptu optical, or laser, communications pointing experiment. The laser beam is seen as a brief flash of light close to the center of the focal plane, to the left of Earth’s horizon.

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First Satellite in Europe’s SpaceDataHighway Forges 20,000 Successful Laser Links

EDRS-A (Credit: ESA)

PARIS, 2 April 2019 (ESA PR) — The European Data Relay System (EDRS)—dubbed the “SpaceDataHighway” by its private operator, Airbus—has passed another milestone.

EDRS-A, the first satellite in what will eventually be a global constellation, has made its 20,000th successful optical link to its customer satellites since its launch in January 2016, marking a world first in laser communication in space.

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Es’hailSat, BridgeSat Bring Secure, Low-Cost Laser Satellite Communications to the Middle East

DENVER and DOHA (Es’hailSat/BridgeSat PR) — Es’hailSat, Qatar Satellite Company and BridgeSat today announced a strategic relationship that will provide businesses and governments across the Middle East with affordable access to laser-based satellite broadband services. This is the latest milestone toward BridgeSat’s goal of providing organizations worldwide with a faster, less expensive and most secure alternative to traditional radio frequency (RF) solutions for low earth orbit (LEO) and geostationary earth orbit (GEO) applications.

BridgeSat owns and operates a growing global network of optical ground stations (OGS) and complimentary satellite terminals that provide high-bandwidth, high-security solutions for unique applications while complementing RF in hybrid networks. Es’hailSat owns and operates a growing number of Ka- and Ku-band satellites serving broadcasters, businesses and governments in the MENA region and beyond.

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NASA Set to Demonstrate X-ray Communications in Space

This image shows the Modulated X-ray Source, a key component in NASA’s first-ever demonstration of X-ray communication in space. (Credits: NASA/W. Hrybyk)

GREENBELT, Md. (NASA PR) — A new experimental type of deep space communications technology is scheduled to be demonstrated on the International Space Station this spring.

Currently, NASA relies on radio waves to send information between spacecraft and Earth. Emerging laser communications technology offers higher data rates that let spacecraft transmit more data at a time. This demonstration involves X-ray communications, or XCOM, which offers even more advantages.

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NASA’s Laser Communications Small Satellite Mission Demonstrates Technology First

OCSD satellite (Credit: NASA)

MOFFETT FIELD, Calif. (NASA PR) — For the first time, a free-flying CubeSat has successfully completed space-to-ground optical communications. The Optical Communication and Sensor Demonstration (OCSD) mission, designed and built by The Aerospace Corporation in El Segundo, California, sent a laser signal from low-Earth orbit to a ground station at the company’s facilities.

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GAO: Laser Communications Mission Delayed by Funding, Redesign Issues

Laser Communications Relay Demonstration satellite (Credit: NASA)

Funding shortfalls and technical challenges have caused a nearly two-year delay in the launch of NASA’s Laser Communications Relay Demonstration (LCRD) mission, according to a Government Accountability Office (GAO) assessment.

“LCRD entered the implementation phase in April 2017 and formally established its cost and schedule baselines of $262.7 million to launch by November 2019, which is $23.4 million higher and 23 months later than the preliminary cost estimate,” the report stated.

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