More information - laser communication project

In addition to one ESA and two NASA ground stations, the LLCD project involved the Lincoln Laboratory of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, NASA’s LADEE Project at NASA Ames Research Centre, and ESOC, ESA’s European Space Operation Centre, Darmstadt.

The MIT Lincoln Lab built the LADEE space terminal flown during the mission.

ESA’s participation in the laser communication project is supported by the Agency’s Technology Research Programme (TRP) and General Support Technology Programme (GSTP).

The later serves to convert promising engineering concepts initially developed within TRP into a broad spectrum of mature products – everything from individual components to subsystems up to entire satellites – that are ready for the market as well as space.

DLR, the German Aerospace Center, has developed satellite-to-satellite laser communication terminals embarked as a technological demonstration payload on the Alphasat mission.

ESA’s recently launched Sentinel-1 carries a laser communication terminal to transmit data to the European Data Relay System (EDRS), thereby maximising data delivery to the ground. EDRS, a network of multiple satellites in geostationary orbit and corresponding ground stations, is designed for the continuous relay of low-orbit satellite data.

Last update: 25 April 2014

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