Saturday, 25 March 2017 12:11

Nasa to launch a space LASER that will provide internet 100 times faster than current broadband within two years

By: 

A powerful laser shining up into space will soon transmit data between the Earth and the International Space Station.

Nasa is hoping to establish laser links at a rate of over one gigabit per second - a speed most home broadband users could only dream of.

This would pave the way for 3D video from space and enable high definition remote robotic exploration of other moons and planets.

The Laser Communications Relay Demonstration (LCRD) will help Nasa to understand the best ways to operate laser communications systems. 

This could enable much higher data rates for connections between spacecraft and Earth, including downloading scientific data and allowing astronauts to send better video messages back home.

LCRD - which will be launched by Nasa's Goddard Space Flight Centre in Greenbelt, Maryland - is designed to function for between two and five years. 

Two ground terminals equipped with laser modems will be set up on Table Mountain, California, and in Hawaii.

They will test the communications capability to and from LCRD - which will be located in an orbit that matches Earth's rotation, called a geosynchronous orbit - between the two stations.

The LCRD launch is scheduled for summer 2019, and a terminal is also being designed for the International Space Station that will be launched in 2021. 

Steve Jurczyk, associate administrator of Nasa's Space Technology Mission Directorate, said: 'LCRD is the next step in implementing Nasa's vision of using optical communications for both near-Earth and deep space missions.

'This technology has the potential to revolutionise space communications.'

Laser communications - also known as optical communications - encode data onto a beam of light.

This is then transmitted between spacecraft and eventually to computers back on Earth. 

This technology offers data rates that are 10 to 100 times better than current radio-frequency (RF) communications systems. 

The LCRD mission is hoping to reach gigabit per second speeds.

The LCRD will beam data between modems on Earth and the satellite in geosynchronous orbit at speeds 10 to 100 times better than current radio-frequency

While such speeds are possible through conventional fibre optics back here on Earth, it is likely to be the best part of a decade before they are seen in most homes. 

The systems themselves are also much smaller than RF, weigh less and consume less power.

This combination of factors will become critically important as humans embark on long journeys to the moon, Mars and beyond.

The Laser Communications Relay Demonstration (LCRD) will help Nasa to understand the best ways to operate laser communications systems

It will also test the long term reliability of such systems, as well exposing it to different environmental and operational conditions.

The mission builds upon a previous mission, the Lunar Laser Communications Demonstration (LLCD).

Launched aboard the lunar atmosphere dust and environment explorer in 2013, LLCD successfully demonstrated the potential for laser communications in space.

The test, in October 2013, beamed data at speeds reaching 622 megabits per second to Earth from a spacecraft orbiting the moon.  

The LCRD payload will consist of two identical optical terminals connected by a component called a space switching unit, which acts as a data router. 

The space switching unit is also connected to a radio-frequency downlink.

A terminal is also being designed for the International Space Station that will be launched in 2021. Scientists at Nasa¿s Goddard Space Flight Centre in Greenbelt, Maryland (pictured) have been testing out the device in advance of its launch

A terminal is also being designed for the International Space Station that will be launched in 2021. Scientists at Nasa's Goddard Space Flight Centre in Greenbelt, Maryland (pictured) have been testing out the device in advance of its launch

The modems translate digital data into laser or radio-frequency signals and back again. 

Once they convert the data to laser light, the optical module will beam the data to Earth. 

To do so, the module must be perfectly pointed to receive and transmit the data. 

The controller electronics (CE) module commands actuators to help point and steady the telescope despite any movement or vibration on the spacecraft.   

The LCRD payload will consist of two identical optical terminals connected by a component called a space switching unit, which acts as a data router 

The LCRD payload will consist of two identical optical terminals connected by a component called a space switching unit, which acts as a data router.

Author : TIM COLLINS FOR MAILONLIN

Source : dailymail.co.uk

 

Leave a comment

airs logo

Association of Internet Research Specialists is the world's leading community for the Internet Research Specialist and provide a Unified Platform that delivers, Education, Training and Certification for Online Research.

Get Exclusive Research Tips in Your Inbox

Receive Great tips via email, enter your email to Subscribe.

Follow Us on Social Media

Book Your Seat for Webinar GET FREE REGISTRATION FOR MEMBERS ONLY      Register Now