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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
BACKNANG, Germany 12.04.2018 Tesat PR) — Tesat’s Laser Communication Terminal for CubeSats, CubeL, is on track after recently the Critical Design Review (CDR) was successfully held at the German Aerospace Center (DLR) in Oberpfaffenhofen. This was an important milestone for the development program on the way to its demonstration mission, which is planned to launch later this year.
BREMEN, German (Airbus PR) — The first high capacity space-to-ground laser communication system is to be installed on the Bartolomeo platform of the International Space Station (ISS) as part of a collaboration between Airbus Defence and Space, the Institute of Communications and Navigation of DLR (German Aerospace Center) and Tesat-Spacecom GmbH & Co. KG. The system called OSIRIS will provide direct to earth (DTE) technology with a data rate of 10 Gbps over range of about 1.500 km.
WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — NASA has selected 11 small research satellites from seven states and Puerto Rico to fly as auxiliary payloads aboard space missions planned to launch in 2019, 2020, and 2021.
The selections are part of the ninth round of the NASA CubeSat Launch Initiative. CubeSats are a type of spacecraft called nanosatellites, often measuring about four inches on each side and weighing less than three pounds, with a volume of about one quart. CubeSats are built using these standard dimensions as Units or “U”, and are classified as 1U, 2U, 3U, or 6U in total size.
TOKYO (JAXA PR) — National Research and Development Agency Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (hereafter known as JAXA, President: Naoki Okumura), Sony Computer Science Laboratories, Inc. (hereafter known as Sony CSL, President and Chief Executive Officer: Hiroaki Kitano) and Sony Corporation (hereafter known as Sony: President and Chief Executive Officer: Kazuo Hirai) made a cooperative research agreement with respect to conducting the on-orbit demonstrations of laser communications system. This research to be executed in the Kibo module on the International Space Station (ISS) aims at establishing a communications system of mass data between spacecraft and that which connects Earth and Space.
PASADENA, Calif. (NASA PR) — A spacecraft destined to explore a unique asteroid will also test new communication hardware that uses lasers instead of radio waves.
The Deep Space Optical Communications (DSOC) package aboard NASA’s Psyche mission utilizes photons — the fundamental particle of visible light — to transmit more data in a given amount of time. The DSOC goal is to increase spacecraft communications performance and efficiency by 10 to 100 times over conventional means, all without increasing the mission burden in mass, volume, power and/or spectrum.
PARIS (Astrobotic PR) – Astrobotic, which is making the Moon accessible to the world, and ATLAS Space Operations Inc., the US leader in cloud-based satellite management and control services proudly announce today at the Paris Air Show that they have signed a payload reservation and partnership to deliver and operate the first-ever laser communications terminal on Astrobotic’s upcoming mission to the Moon. This brings the total number of deals in place for Astrobotic’s mission to eleven.
Laser communications systems have become the next big thing in spacecraft design, promising improved communications. And now NASA is looking to put them on CubeSats.
NASA Goddard Space Flight Center has issued a request for information (RFI) seeking sources of compact laser transmitters that could be placed on one of these small satellites for a future technology demonstration space flight mission.
“Goddard is developing a CUBESat spacecraft with science mission payload for a multiple unit CUBESat spacecraft that will generate >1 Gbit/day science data at distances up to 0.5 Astronomical Units (AU). Reference 1 gives a notional CUBESat laser communications system concept,” the center said in the RFI.
“The purpose of this RFI is to solicit specific capability information from industry on master- oscillator power-amplifier (MOPA) laser communication transmitter technologies. This will be used for a cost, schedule and technical assessment to assist with preparing for a possible near-future NASA CUBESat spacecraft technology demonstration,” the RFI adds.
NASA is developing a trailblazing, long-term technology demonstration of what could become the high-speed internet of the sky.
The Laser Communications Relay Demonstration (LCRD) will help NASA understand the best ways to operate laser communications systems. They could enable much higher data rates for connections between spacecraft and Earth, such as scientific data downlink and astronaut communications.