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NASA Achieves First Laser-Based Communications Uplink Beyond Moon’s Range

Space-based communications

NASA Achieves First Laser-Based Communications Uplink Beyond Moon’s Range

NASA has sent and received data at a distance of nearly 10 million miles, marking the first time the agency transmitted lasers beyond the moon.

Under the two-year Deep Space Optical Communications experiment, NASA scientists beamed a near-infrared laser from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory’s Optical Communications Telescope Lab to the Psyche spacecraft. The DSOC payload received the laser through its flight laser transceiver on Nov. 14.

DSOC redirected the laser to the Hale Telescope, located at the California Institute of Technology’s Palomar Observatory in San Diego, after receiving it from JPL, NASA said.

DSOC is onboard Psyche, a spacecraft destined for the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. It was launched on Oct. 13 aboard a SpaceX rocket bound for a metal-rich asteroid 2.2 billion miles away.

The experimentation hardware is one of five payloads aboard Psyche. DSOC is designed to test NASA’s high-bandwidth optical communications solution designed for connections beyond the moon.

The other payloads aboard Psyche are a multispectral imager, a gamma ray and neutron spectrometer, a magnetometer and a gravity science experimentation module.

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Category: Space