Space

April 19, 2012

NASA awards Loral contract for laser comm payload flight

NASA’s Space Technology Program has awarded Space System/Loral of Palo Alto, Calif., a $3 million contract to initiate the process of hosting a space laser communications relay demonstration terminal payload aboard a Loral commercial satellite, which launches in 2016.

The agreement marks the first time NASA has contracted to fly a payload on an American-manufactured commercial communications satellite.

NASA’s technology demonstration payload will be stationed high above the equator aboard the Loral spacecraft. This is a prime location to conduct communications experiments with other orbiting satellites or ground stations. Commercial communications satellites offer the location, size and power systems needed to conduct NASA’s space laser communications trials.

“Using a commercial communications satellite to host a NASA technology demonstration payload provides an opportunity to partner with American industry for the agency to gain access to space faster and at a lower cost than developing and launching dedicated satellites,” said Michael Gazarik, director of NASA’s Space Technology Program in Washington. “Once deep space laser communications is operational, it will be like going from home dial-up Internet service to broadband.”

Space laser communications has the potential to provide 100 times higher data rates than traditional radio frequency with much less mass and power, which can be constraints when designing satellites.

“We are excited to be a part of this mission, which is particularly interesting because of the great potential for laser communications to revolutionize space exploration as well as the commercial satellite industry,” said John Celli, president of Space Systems/Loral.

Under this contract, Loral will work with NASA to determine the technical requirements for the space communications laser demonstration payload planned to be integrated with a Loral satellite platform.

The Laser Communications Relay Demonstration mission is one of several crosscutting flight demonstrations that NASA selected for development in 2011 because of its potential to provide tangible, near-term products and infuse high-impact capabilities into NASA’s future space operations missions.

By investing in high-payoff, disruptive technology that industry does not have today, NASA matures the technology required for its future missions while proving the capabilities and lowering the cost of government and commercial space activities.

The Laser Communications Relay Demonstration project is part of the agency’s Technology Demonstrations Missions Program, which matures crosscutting technology to flight readiness status through relevant environment testing, including testing in space. The primary objective of the Technology Demonstrations Missions are to “bridge the technology gap,” by maturing system-level space technologies through flight readiness and mission infusion.

 




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 

Headlines December 19, 2014

News: SpaceX’s attempt to land rocket on floating barge postponed - It’s set to be one of the most groundbreaking moments in humanity’s six decades of space exploration. Obama signs $1.1 trillion spending bill into law - President Obama signed the $1.1 trillion federal spending measure into law Dec. 16, officially ending any threat of a government...
 
 

News Briefs December 19, 2014

Trial set for ex-Navy engineer in military secrets case A former Navy civilian engineer is scheduled to stand trial next summer on charges of trying to steal aircraft carrier schematics. Media outlets report that 35-year-old Mostafa Awwad of Yorktown, Va., pleaded not guilty Dec. 17 to two counts of attempted exportation of defense articles and...
 
 
Army photograph by C. Todd Lopez

Army to launch cruise missile-detecting aerostat at Aberdeen Proving Ground

Army photograph by C. Todd Lopez The Army plans to launch an aerostat, part of the “Joint Land Attack Cruise Missile Defense Elevated Netted Sensor,” in late December 2014. The JLENS aerostat will be tethered to the...
 

 
Air Force photograph by SrA. Jordan Castelan

AF delivers Iraqi F-16s for training in US

Air Force photograph by SrA. Jordan Castelan Iraqi air force captain Hama conducts preflight inspections while inside a new to service Iraqi F-16 Fighting Falcon Dec. 17, 2014, located at the nearby Tucson International Airport...
 
 
Air Force photograph by SSgt. Derek VanHorn

Short-notice: A new way to exercise

Air Force photograph by SSgt. Derek VanHorn Airmen from Kadena Air Base, Japan, prepare for an aeromedical evacuation exercise on a KC-135 Stratotanker Dec. 5, 2014, at Misawa Air Base, Japan. The operation was executed in supp...
 
 
Lockheed Martin photograph by Andy Wolfe

Japan, Australia to provide F-35 maintenance sites in Pacific region

Lockheed Martin photograph by Andy Wolfe An F-35C Lightning II joint strike fighter carrier variant prepares to launch from the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz in the Pacific Ocean, Nov. 6, 2014. Japan and Australia will be sharing...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>