CubeSat to Demonstrate Miniature Laser Communications in Orbit

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Optical Communications and Sensor Demonstration (OCSD) Spacecraft Configuration. OCSD differs from other space-based laser communication systems since a laser is hard-mounted to a booster body, and a course of a CubeSat controls a instruction of a beam. This creates a laser complement some-more compress than anything formerly flown in space. Credits: NASA/Ames

Optical Communications and Sensor Demonstration (OCSD) Spacecraft Configuration. OCSD differs from other space-based laser communication systems since a laser is hard-mounted to a booster body, and a course of a CubeSat controls a instruction of a beam. This creates a laser complement some-more compress than anything formerly flown in space.
Credits: NASA/Ames

NASA and The Aerospace Corporation of El Segundo, California, have perceived acknowledgment a Optical Communications and Sensor Demonstration (OCSD) CubeSat booster is in circuit and operational. OCSD launched aboard an Atlas V rocket Thursday from a Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.

OCSD is a initial in a new array of 6 NASA-managed record proof missions set to launch during a entrance months regulating CubeSats to exam technologies that can capacitate new uses for these tiny satellites, that magnitude 10 cm x 10 cm x 10 cm (about 4 inches per side). NASA, other supervision agencies, academia and blurb companies can incorporate these technologies, that operation from high-speed communications to novel thrust systems to technologies that capacitate event and docking, into destiny space missions.

“Technology proof missions like OCSD are pushing exploration,” pronounced Steve Jurczyk, associate director for a Space Technology Mission Directorate (STMD) during NASA Headquarters in Washington. “By improving a communication capability of tiny booster to support data-intensive scholarship missions, OCSD will allege a intensity to turn a some-more viable choice for goal planners.”

OCSD differs from other space-based laser communication systems since a laser is hard-mounted to a booster body, and a course of a CubeSat controls a instruction of a beam. This creates a laser complement some-more compress than anything formerly flown in space. The CubeSat will weigh a ability to indicate a tiny satellite accurately as it demonstrates information send by laser during rates of adult to 200 Mb/s — a cause of 100 boost over stream high-end CubeSat communications systems.

The second OCSD mission, scheduled to launch no progressing than Feb. 1, will use dual CubeSats to denote a ability to scheme tiny booster in tighten vicinity to one another regulating low-cost sensors and a novel thrust complement that uses H2O as a propellant. This record can raise a ability of tiny booster to work in coordination with other satellites to try asteroids, planets and moons, as good as inspecting other spacecraft.

Also aboard a Atlas V were 4 CubeSats comparison by a CubeSat Launch Initiative (CSLI) as partial of a Educational Launch of Nanosatellite (ELaNa) XII mission. The satellites successfully deployed from their protecting cases and are in orbit. The CubeSats’ transmitters incited on, and belligerent stations listened for their beacons to establish a tiny satellites’ functionality. These CubeSats will exam new tiny satellite control and communications systems, Earth observations, pledge radio communications and an X-Band radio scholarship transponder.

CSLI provides innovators from non-profit organizations, educational institutions and NASA-sponsored missions with an permitted approach to attend in space exploration. ELaNa missions, managed by a Launch Services Program during NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, yield a ride-share event for CubeSats comparison by CSLI.

NASA’s Small Spacecraft Technology Program (SSTP) within STMD supports a OCSD project. Aerospace built and operates a OCSD spacecraft. The SSTP bureau during NASA’s Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, California, manages a OCSD plan for STMD.

Small satellites, including CubeSats, are personification an increasingly incomparable purpose in exploration, record demonstration, systematic investigate and educational investigations during NASA. They yield a low-cost height for NASA missions, including heavenly space exploration; Earth observations; elemental Earth and space science; and building predecessor scholarship instruments like cutting-edge laser communications, satellite-to-satellite communications and unconstrained transformation capabilities. CubeSats also concede an inexpensive means to rivet students in all phases of satellite development, operation and exploitation by real-world, hands-on investigate and growth knowledge on NASA-funded rideshare launch opportunities.

Source: NASA