LGS Innovations, a technology company providing specialized mission-critical communication research and solutions, announced today that it 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.
Laser communications, the next-generation space communications technology, can transmit data over long distances at rates up to 100 times faster than traditional radio frequency systems.
“We’re proud to support yet another NASA project with advanced optical technology to help meet the ever-increasing requirements for more bandwidth and faster connections,” said Kevin Kelly, LGS Innovations CEO. ”Fast and reliable communications are key to the success of exploration missions and can transform the work and life of space crews.”
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 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.