This effort is relevant to numerous upcoming NASA missions. For example, as an add-on to the laser communications relay demonstration (LCRD) mission MiLC could be used for demonstrating a LEO-T (ISS) direct-to-ground capability that would fly in 2019. A MiLC mission aboard the ISS could collect data from a GEO satellite and then relay the data to a ground station. Wide angle EO beamsteering would enable longer tracking and therefore longer link times. In phase I we will demonstrate feasibility of LEO-to-ground data-rates > 4 Gbps with a path to 10 Gbps. MiLC is also relevant to NASA's Space Communication and Navigation (SCaN) office. For example, MiLC could be incorporated into an Integrated Radio and Optical Communications (iROC) demonstration flight circa 2020. Furthermore, the low SWaP and cost of MiLC could dramatically increase the downlink data rates from miniature satellites such as cube-sats. Lasercom on cube-sats or other miniature satellites could enable "on-demand" distributed networks of numerous down-link points, which would mitigate weather obscurants. This would be a new way of imagining the lasercom "network-in-the-sky". Finally, MiLC could be used as a surface communications asset such as the 2020 rover application wherein it could provide a high bandwidth optical uplink from the rover to the Mars orbiter.
The ultra-compact, low power, and ultimately low cost optical communication systems proposed here have numerous commercial applications. They will be instrumental in last-mile telecommunications environments in urban setting, for field-deployable high-definition video systems for newscasters and sports casters (e.g., high-def coverage of golf tournaments is currently and outstanding challenge), and a variety reconfigurable, low-cost, commercial high-bandwidth data links. Extending the capability to space based platforms will find utility in satellite relay networks, surveillance systems, and general increased communications bandwidths.