NASA’s communication system will quickly be getting a critical improve, with the launch of the Laser Communications Relay Demonstration (LCRD) set for early tomorrow morning, Sunday, December 5. We’ve received the small print on the launch and learn how to watch it stay.
Most present NASA missions use radio frequency communications to ship information again to Earth. The Perseverance rover, for instance, beams information to one of many spacecraft orbiting the planet, which then sends it on to Earth, the place it’s picked up by the enormous dishes of NASA’s Deep House Community. Nevertheless, this technique has restricted bandwidth, and with increasingly more complicated devices being despatched into area, extra bandwidth is required to ship communications extra effectively.
The answer is to make use of a distinct frequency for communications. Altering over to laser communications (also referred to as optical communications) will enable a bandwidth enhance of between 10 and 100 instances that of radio communications. However this variation requires new infrastructure, which the LCRD challenge will take a look at.
“NASA is taking a step towards the subsequent period of area communications with the launch of its Laser Communications Relay Demonstration (LCRD) on Sunday, December. 5,” the company writes. “Laser communications – additionally referred to as optical communications as a result of they use gentle to ship info — supply greater information charges than conventional radio frequency programs, enabling extra information to be transmitted with every transmission. LCRD will show space-to-ground laser communications linking floor stations in Hawaii and California. Later within the mission, LCRD will obtain and transmit information from an optical terminal that NASA will place on the Worldwide House Station.”
Find out how to watch the LCRD launch
The relay system can be launched on a United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V rocket from Cape Canaveral House Drive Station in Florida, as a part of a House Drive mission named House Check Program 3 (STP-3).
The launch can be livestreamed by NASA on its NASA TV channel. You possibly can watch both by heading to NASA’s web site or by utilizing the video participant embedded above.
Protection begins at 3:30 a.m. ET (12:30 a.m. PT) on Sunday, December 5, and the two-hour launch window is scheduled to start at 4:04 a.m. ET (1:04 a.m. PT). If that’s slightly too early — or too late! — for you then don’t fear, you may rewatch the occasion after it’s occurred by heading to the NASA YouTube channel.