Lasers to provide high bandwidth space mission communications

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The NASA mission to explore the Psyche asteroid will send acquired data and images to earth using high bandwidth laser communications.

Communication technology specialist company, LGS Innovations, has received a contract to support the NASA Deep Space Optical Communications (DSOC) Project Laser Transmitter Assembly (LTA). The DSOC instrument will be flown on NASA’s Psyche Discover Class Mission as a technology demonstration and will be capable of transmitting engineering and science data from the Psyche Spacecraft in parallel with the Spacecraft’s existing X-band telecommunications system.

Future deep space exploration missions, both manned and unmanned, will require high bandwidth communication links to ground stations on Earth to support advanced scientific instruments, high definition video and high-resolution imagery. LGS Innovations’ next-generation laser transmitter will enable more data to be communicated faster, thereby driving the efficiency of this and future solar system exploration missions.

The NASA Psyche mission, led by Arizona State University, is a three-and-a-half-year mission to explore the building blocks of planets, including Earth, by examining a rare nickel-iron asteroid, named Phyche, orbiting the Sun between Mars and Jupiter that is thought to be an exposed planetary core. It is expected to launch in 2022 and arrive at Psyche in 2026 for a 21-month observation period in orbit.

“We are delighted to support the NASA DSOC’s goal to increase communication performance and data transmission rates by many times over conventional means, in a very small form factor,” said Kevin Kelly, CEO of LGS Innovations. “The unprecedented high-bandwidth communications links will enable a wider range of future scientific research than is currently possible, as well as improved human communications back to Earth.”

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