The American space agency, NASA, continues to look for more effective ways of transmitting data around the world in the form of satellite communications technology. One form of new technology that is being explored is the use LASER's in what is known as the Lunar Laser Communications Demonstration. This new form of communications technology is being developed to expand the options for satellite communications to use more of the spectrum than is currently in operation using radio and microwave technology.Not only is the Lunar LASER Communications Demonstration thought to increase the amount of information being passed over the airwaves, but also transmits information at a faster rate.
The first mission operated by NASA will see the LADEE unmanned spacecraft launched into space with a small modem on board to receive and send high quality information from Earth to the spacecraft in orbit around the moon. A number of ground control centers will send and receive information passed between themselves and the LADEE spacecraft, with the main mission control center to be house at White Sands New Mexico. When small packets of light are transmitted at a single time from the Earth or the LADEE spacecraft they create a LASER that is capable of containing large amounts of information that cannot be transmitted using the current radio or microwave portions of the spectrum.
Not only does NASA believe this system will allow for greater amounts of information to be passed to spacecraft orbiting the Earth, but can also allow faster transfer rates up to 622 Megabit per second during the Lunar LASER Communications Demonstration. The entire system is also lightweight and will only add around 65 pounds in total to the weight of the LADEE spacecraft, with the addition of a modem and four inch telescope to focus the LASER beams transmitted from Earth.
The main reasons for attempting this new area of communications technology is for NASA to make its space missions fart more cost effective, with lighter weights of equipment and a reduction in required equipment. There is also the possibility to receive far more detailed information via LASER technology, such as 3D HD video. n the future, NASA also hope that telecommunications on Earth will be updated using LASER technology if the initial Lunar LASER Communications Demonstration and future tests are successful. This could lead to an increase in the quality of TV and Internet communications and a reduced cost for Earth bound customers looking for the best educational and entertainment possibilities.