[FPSPACE] FW: [lunar-update] NASA Laser Communication System Sets Record with Data Transmissions to and from Moon

LARRY KLAES ljk4 at msn.com
Wed Oct 23 17:59:20 EDT 2013

Date: Tue, 22 Oct 2013 17:30:50 -0700
From: larry.kellogg at gmail.com
To: lunar-update at mailman1.altair.com
Subject: [lunar-update] NASA Laser Communication System Sets Record with Data Transmissions to and from Moon

NASA Laser Communication System Sets Record with Data Transmissions to and from Moon

Look at these speeds. 
"NASA's Lunar Laser Communication Demonstration (LLCD) has made history using a pulsed laser beam to transmit data over the 239,000 miles between the moon and Earth at a record-breaking download rate of 622 megabits per second (Mbps)."

October 22, 2013

Joshua Buck
Headquarters, Washington
jbuck at nasa.gov

Dewayne Washington
Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md.

dewayne.a.washington at nasa.gov

RELEASE 13-309

NASA Laser Communication System Sets Record with Data Transmissions to and from Moon

NASA's Lunar Laser Communication Demonstration (LLCD) has made history using a pulsed laser beam to transmit data over the 239,000 miles between the moon and Earth at a record-breaking download rate of 622 megabits per second (Mbps).

LLCD is NASA's first system for two-way communication using a laser instead of radio waves. It also has demonstrated an error-free data upload rate of 20 Mbps transmitted from the primary ground station in New Mexico to the spacecraft currently orbiting the moon.

"LLCD is the first step on our roadmap toward building the next generation of space communication capability," said Badri Younes, NASA's deputy associate administrator for space communications and navigation (SCaN) in Washington. "We are encouraged by the results of the demonstration to this point, and we are confident we are on the right path to introduce this new capability into operational service soon."

Since NASA first ventured into space, it has relied on radio frequency (RF) communication. However, RF is reaching its limit as demand for more data capacity continues to increase. The development and deployment of laser communications will enable NASA to extend communication capabilities such as increased image resolution and 3-D video transmission from deep space.

"The goal of LLCD is to validate and build confidence in this technology so that future missions will consider using it," said Don Cornwell, LLCD manager at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. "This unique ability developed by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Lincoln Laboratory has incredible application possibilities."

LLCD is a short-duration experiment and the precursor to NASA's long-duration demonstration, the Laser Communications Relay Demonstration (LCRD). LCRD is a part of the agency's Technology Demonstration Missions Program, which is working to develop crosscutting technology capable of operating in the rigors of space. It is scheduled to launch in 2017.

LLCD is hosted aboard NASA's Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer (LADEE), launched in September from NASA's Wallops Flight Facility on Wallops Island, Va. LADEE is a 100-day robotic mission operated by the agency's Ames Research Center at Moffett Field, Calif. LADEE's mission is to provide data that will help NASA determine whether dust caused the mysterious glow astronauts observed on the lunar horizon during several Apollo missions. It also will explore the moon's atmosphere. Ames designed, developed, built, integrated and tested LADEE, and manages overall operations of the spacecraft. NASA's Science Mission Directorate in Washington funds the LADEE mission.

The LLCD system, flight terminal and primary ground terminal at NASA's White Sands Test Facility in Las Cruces, N.M., were developed by the Lincoln Laboratory at MIT. The Table Mountain Optical Communications Technology Laboratory operated by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., is participating in the demonstration. A third ground station operated by the European Space Agency on Tenerife in the Canary Islands also will be participating in the demonstration.For more information about LLCD, visit:


For more information about the LADEE mission, visit:


For more information about LCRD, visit:


For more information about SCaN, visit:



And way back, Pioneer 10 at launch 256 bit/s.-LRK-


Pioneer 10...The space probe included a redundant system of transceivers, one attached to the narrow-beam, high-gain antenna, the other to an omni-antenna and medium-gain antenna. The parabolic dish for the high-gain antenna was 2.74 meters (9.0 ft) in diameter and made from an aluminum honeycomb sandwich material. The spacecraft was spun about an axis that was parallel to the axis of this antenna so that it could remain oriented toward the Earth.[12] Each transceiver was 8 W and transmitted data across the S-band using 2110 MHz for the uplink from Earth and 2292 MHz for the downlink to Earth with the Deep Space Network tracking the signal. Data to be transmitted was passed through a convolutional encoder so that most communication errors could becorrected by the receiving equipment on Earth.[1]:43 The data transmission rate at launch was 256 bit/s, with the rate degrading by about −1.27 millibit/s for each day during the mission.[12]


Lasers Find Varied Uses in Space Applications-LRK-
Lasers Find Varied Uses in Space Applications

Valerie C. Coffey, Freelance Science Writer
From the first laser fired on another planet to observatory guide stars and space collision avoidance systems, lasers in space are making news with numerous advances and universal firsts (as far as we know).

With the beginning of the Laser Lunar Ranging experiment in the 1960s, the use of lasers in space moved out of the realm of science fiction into reality. While lasers-as-lightsabers are still only Star Wars fiction, the numerous ways we use lasers in space applications are pretty cool, even to non-nerdy folks.

NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity has been front and center in the news since its landing on the distant big red rock on Aug. 6 of this year.1 Part of its mission is to search for markers of biological habitability as well as to study geology, climate and the role of water on the planet. In a functional “target practice” test on Aug. 19, Curiosity’s powerful megawatt laser became our first to be fired on another planet (see Figure 1). In that first self-test of the instrument after landing, it fired 30 5-ns-long pulses, each with more than 1 million W of power, over a 10-s period at a fist-size rock dubbed “Coronation.”


Thanks for looking up with me.  
- LRK -
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List of proposed missions to the MoonThere are several future lunar missions scheduled or proposed by various nations or organisations.

1 Under development
2 Proposed
2.1 Space probe missions
2.2 Manned missions
3 Cancelled or indefinitely postponed
4 See also
5 References



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