The OCSD mission will demonstrate high-speed optical transmission of data using a miniature laser communications system that will increase downlink data rates for small spacecraft from the typical existing rates of about 10 kilobits per second (kb/s) to a theoretical limit of 200 megabits per second (Mb/s). The mission will also demonstrate small spacecraft proximity operations and RF-crosslinking of data between two spacecraft. OCSD includes two flight demonstrations, a single satellite engineering risk reduction flight with a 1.5U CubeSat and then the full demonstration mission with two 1.5U CubeSats.
The optical communication technology flown on OCSD has the potential greatly increase the data downlink capability for CubeSats to up to 200 Mb/s. This will extend the capability of CubeSats and further enable their use for CubeSats high value data-intensive science missions. Additionally the proximity operations element of the demonstration will help develop capabilities for servicing, support, and other operations requiring relative maneuvering of small spacecraft.