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  • Space Systems/Loral, NASA Collaborate

Photonics Spectra
Jun 2012
Space Systems/Loral (SS/L) of Palo Alto, Calif., will partner with NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center to host a laser communications relay demonstration on a commercial satellite to be launched in 2016. NASA’s Space Technology Program selected Goddard’s mission proposal to use the SS/L satellite platform to help enable the next era of space communications. Optical communications uses an uncongested portion of spectrum compared with radio-frequency communications currently used to transmit data from space. For commercial satellites, laser communications could provide even faster rates than radio frequency, with much less power and mass – the typical constraints of satellite design.

The technology of generating and harnessing light and other forms of radiant energy whose quantum unit is the photon. The science includes light emission, transmission, deflection, amplification and detection by optical components and instruments, lasers and other light sources, fiber optics, electro-optical instrumentation, related hardware and electronics, and sophisticated systems. The range of applications of photonics extends from energy generation to detection to communications and...
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