Video: NASA's Laser Communications Relay demonstration gears up for launch

Video: NASA's Laser Communications Relay demonstration gears up for launch
Illustration of NASA's Laser Communications Relay Demonstration communicating with the International Space Station over laser links. Credit: NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center

NASA's Laser Communications Relay Demonstration (LCRD) is gearing up for launch this fall, no earlier than Nov. 22. The payload arrived in Florida in May, fully integrated into its host spacecraft and ready for its final testing before being lofted into space.

LCRD will leverage the power of infrared light to send and receive information encoded into invisible laser beams from one location to the next. Once in , LCRD will demonstrate the benefits of using infrared lasers to communicate information from space. These benefits include increased data in a single downlink, as well as reduced size, weight, and for a communications system on a spacecraft.

As part of the final testing campaign, several LCRD team members integrated the last pieces of hardware, completed final inspections, and conducted launch integration systems tests at the Astrotech Space Operations facility in Titusville, Florida. Completed in May, these were the last set of Earth-based tests for the , ensuring its readiness for launch. Soon, the host spacecraft will be fueled with propellant and prepared for encapsulation and mating with an Atlas V rocket.

Once the spacecraft is thrusted into space and reaches its destination in —22,000 miles above Earth's surface—LCRD will become NASA's first two-way laser communications relay.

Credit: NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center

Explore further

NASA's next laser communications demo installed, integrated

Citation: Video: NASA's Laser Communications Relay demonstration gears up for launch (2021, October 19) retrieved 9 December 2021 from https://techxplore.com/news/2021-10-video-nasa-laser-relay-gears.html
This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.
6 shares

Feedback to editors