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Satnews Daily
October 17th, 2018

LGS Innovations Delivering Optical Signal Comms Technology to NASA

LGS Innovations will be supporting the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA) Orion EM-2 Optical Communications (O2O) project.

LGS Innovations will provide an optical modem that will enable broadband data communications to and from the Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle designed to take humans into lunar orbit.

The Laser-Enhanced Mission Communications Navigation and Operational Services (LEMNOS) project office manages both the Orion EM-2 Optical Communications System (O2O) and the Integrated Laser Communication Relay Demonstration (LCRD) Low-Earth Orbit (LEO) User Modem and Amplifier Terminal (ILLUMA-T) projects. O2O leverages laser communications technology for use on the next-generation Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle.

The LGS Innovations modem will convert the data generated on the Orion spacecraft to an optical signal, allowing it to be beamed from the vicinity of the Moon to a receiver on Earth. It will also be capable of receiving the optical signal from Earth and converting it to data for the spacecraft.

LGS Innovations was selected by MIT Lincoln Laboratory, a Department of Defense (DoD) Research and Development Laboratory that is managing the contract. LGS is expected to deliver the modem in late 2019 to help maintain NASA’s Orion schedule. The advanced free space optical capability will continue to push forward space exploration and can be suitable for commercial applications such as satellite communications networks.

LGS Innovations is helping NASA adopt laser communications for other missions with technologies such as the first deep-space laser transmitter for the Deep Space Optical Communications project, and a free-space laser modem that will fly aboard the International Space Station as the first demonstration of a fully operational, end-to-end optical communications system.

Executive Comment

Kevin Kelly, LGS Innovations CEO, stated that the company is proud to support yet another NASA project with advanced optical technology to help meet the ever-increasing requirements for more bandwidth and faster connections,. Fast and reliable communications are key to the success of exploration missions and can transform the work and life of space crews.