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Technology Demonstration Missions

Laser Communications Relay Demonstration (LCRD)

Completed Technology Project

Project Description

The Laser Communications Relay Demonstration mission proposes to revolutionize the way we send and receive data, video and other information, using lasers to encode and transmit data at rates 10 to 100 times faster than today's fastest radio-frequency systems, using significantly less mass and power.

LCRD is a minimum two year flight demonstration in geosynchronous Earth orbit to advance optical communications technology toward infusion into Deep Space and Near Earth operational systems, while growing the capabilities of industry sources. LCRD will validate the essential operational elements of an optical communication network and establish the initial operational capability for the next generation of satellites. The LCRD mission will provide a minimum of two years of continuous high rate optical communications in an operational environment and demonstrate a viable operational architecture for laser communication. Optical communications will enable NASA to undertake future complex missions that would require large increases in data volume with minimum impact to the user for accommodation of the communication system. LCRD will demonstrate the modulation and coding suitable for very high rate links. The LCRD architecture enables it to serve as a test bed to demonstrate advanced networking concepts and protocols that will enable full potential operational optical communications for future missions.

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