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 February 25, 2015

News: Army to send headquarters group to Kandahar in first sign of revision to Afghan withdrawal plan - In the first official sign that the Pentagon plans to keep a U.S. military presence in southern Afghanistan after this year, the Army is sending the 7th Infantry Division headquarters from Joint Base Lewis-McChord on a year-long deployment...
 
 

News Briefs February 25, 2015

Lithuania restores compulsory military service Lithuania will restore compulsory military service for young men as tensions in Ukraine continue to worry the small Baltic nation, the government said Feb. 24. After a meeting of military leaders and top government officials, President Dalia Grybauskaite said the measure was necessary because of growing aggression in Ukraine. Military...
 
 
Sensor Concepts Inc. photograph

Air Force Research Labís handheld imaging tool expands aircraft inspection capability

Sensor Concepts Inc. photograph An operator demonstrates the portability of the handheld imaging tool. The technology provides maintainers the ability to evaluate aircraft in the field to ensure mission-readiness. When pilots c...
 

 

Boeing, Royal Australian Air Force test extended range weapon

The Boeing Joint Direct Attack Munition Extended Range demonstrated significant range increase while maintaining its expected accuracy during flight testing conducted by Boeing and the Royal Australian Air Force. The testing centered on a new wing kit that, when used in conjunction with the weaponís guidance kit, increases the bomb’s range from approximately 15 miles...
 
 

DRS Technologies to provide comm systems for Royal New Zealand Navy frigates

DRS Technologies Inc., a Finmeccanica Company, announced Feb. 25 that its Canadian subsidiary will be providing tactical integrated communications systems to the New Zealand Ministry of Defense for the Royal New Zealand Navy’s ANZAC-class frigates. This subcontract was awarded to DRS Technologies Canada Ltd. in support of a communications modernization contract from Lockheed Martin Canada...
 
 

Northrop Grumman LITENING achieves two million operating hour milestone

In the life cycle of every military system, some milestones stand out as signature achievements. One million operating hours is one of them – and Northrop Grumman’s fielded AN/AAQ-28(V) LITENING pods have hit that number for the second time. “This is a significant milestone for the LITENING program and our team is proud to be...
 




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>