NASA’s Laser Communications Small Satellite Mission Demonstrates Technology First
02 August 2018
For the first time, a free-flying CubeSat has successfully completed space-to-ground optical communications. The Optical Communication and Sensor Demonstration (OCSD) mission, designed and built by The Aerospace Corporation in El Segundo, California, sent a laser signal from low-Earth orbit to a ground station at the company's facilities.
The small satellite transmitted at a data rate of 100 megabits per second – 50 times greater than typical communication systems for this size spacecraft. Lasers mounted aboard the OCSD spacecraft communicated high-quality, error-free signals for short periods of time to the ground.
Image credit: NanoRacks - OCSD integration