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 November 17, 2014

News: Fight over A-10 re-opens Hill, Air Force divide - After a relatively quiet summer, the battle for the future of the A-10 Warthog exploded in the last two weeks, reopening deep fissures between Congress and the Air Force that seem to show the two sides at a total stalemate. Chances for sequester relief fade as...
 
 

News Briefs Nov, 17, 2014

Second stealthy destroyer starting to take shape The second of three stealthy destroyers under construction in Maine is starting to take shape. The Navy says it has completed the hoisting of the 1,000-ton composite deckhouse onto the 610-foot hull of the future USS Michael Monsoor. It took four cranes to complete the job Nov. 14....
 
 
NASA photograph by Jim Yungel

NASA DC-8 continues west Antarctic ice study

NASA photograph by Jim Yungel The Thurston Island calving front off of western Antarctica as seen from the window of NASA’s DC-8 flying observatory Nov. 5, 2014. NASA’s DC-8 flying laboratory has two weeks of suppor...
 

 
NASA photograph by Emmett Given

NASA opens registration for 2015 Exploration Rover Challenge

NASA photograph by Emmett Given Pedaling across a simulated alien landscape of rock, craters and shifting sand is one of the nearly 90 teams of high school, college and university students from across the United States and arou...
 
 
Lockheed Martin photograph

Lockheed Martin begins final assembly of NASA’s next Mars lander

Lockheed Martin photograph Technicians in a Lockheed Martin clean room prepare NASA’s InSight Mars lander for propulsion proof and leak testing on Oct. 31, 2014. Following the test, the lander was moved to another clean room ...
 
 
Air Force photograph by Isaac Cruz

‘Batman’ fix to sustain C-5s for decades, saving millions

Robins Air Force Base, Ga., has hit another milestone by being the first to complete a new major structural repair on a C-5M which will bring in millions of dollars in revenue and sustain the Air Force’s fleet for decades...
 




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>