The Lunar Laser Communication Demonstration: a Successful First Step for Deep-Space Lasercom Systems
Radio waves have been the standard method for deep-space communications since the Apollo Mission. However, the recent success of the Lunar Laser Communications Demonstration (LLCD) program will clearly revolutionize the way data is sent and received from deep space. LLCD demonstrated record-breaking optical up/downlinks between Earth and the Lunar Lasercom Space Terminal (LLST) payload on NASA’s Lunar Atmosphere Environment Explorer (LADEE) satellite orbiting the Moon. The system included the development of a novel space terminal, a novel ground terminal, two major upgrades of existing ground terminals, and a capable and flexible ground operations infrastructure. This talk will give an overview of the system architecture and the several terminals, basic operations of both the link and the whole system, and some typical results focusing on operations.
This work is sponsored by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration under Air Force Contract #FA8721-05-C-0002. Opinions, interpretations, conclusions and recommendations are those of the author and are not necessarily endorsed by the United States Government.
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