Washington: Researchers have said that the completion of the 30-day Lunar Laser Communication Demonstration or LLCD mission has revealed that the possibility of expanding broadband capabilities in space using laser communications is as bright as expected.
Hosted aboard the Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer known as LADEE, for its ride to lunar orbit, the LLCD was designed to confirm laser communication capabilities from a distance of almost a quarter-of-a-million miles.
In addition to demonstrating record-breaking data download and upload speeds to the moon at 622 megabits per second (Mbps) and 20 Mbps, respectively, LLCD also showed that it could operate as well as any NASA radio system.
Don Cornwell, LLCD mission manager at NASA`s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, said that throughout their testing they did not see anything that would prevent the operational use of this technology in the immediate future.
Operationally, LLCD demonstrated the ability to download data from the LADEE spacecraft itself.
LLCD also demonstrated the ability to "hand-off" the laser connection from one ground station to another, just as a cellphone does a hand-off from one cell tower to another. An additional achievement was the ability to operate LLCD without using LADEE `s radio at all.
The ability of LLCD to send and receive high definition video was proven with a message from NASA Administrator Charlie Bolden, completing the trip to the moon and back with only a few seconds of delay.