Testing Space Lasers for Deep Space Optical Communications
How might lasers revolutionize deep space communications? NASA will test high-bandwidth laser (or optical) communications for the first time beyond the Moon with a pioneering technology demonstration called Deep Space Optical Communications (DSOC).
If successful, this kind of laser communications technology could be used to transmit large volumes of data – such as streaming video and higher-resolution science observations – from robotic spacecraft and from future astronauts exploring Mars.
DSOC is attached to NASA’s Psyche spacecraft and will send and receive signals during the first two years of Psyche’s six-year journey to the metal-rich asteroid of the same name. During its demonstration period, DSOC will not be transmitting Psyche data, but rather its own set of data. The experiment involves a transceiver on the spacecraft along with two ground stations – one at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory’s Table Mountain facility and the other at Caltech’s Palomar Observatory.
Psyche and DSOC are expected to launch in October 2023
Learn more about the DSOC experiment at https://nasa.gov/technology
The DSOC experiment is sponsored by the Technology Demonstration Missions program within NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate and the Space Communications and Navigation program within the agency’s Space Operations Mission Directorate. The agency’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory manages the DSOC project for NASA.
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