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Waspie_Dwarf

ISS to Beam Data From Space Via Laser

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NASA's Opals to Beam Data From Space Via Laser

PASADENA, Calif. -- NASA will use the International Space Station to test a new communications technology that could dramatically improve spacecraft communications, enhance commercial missions and strengthen transmission of scientific data.

The Optical Payload for Lasercomm Science (OPALS), an optical technology demonstration experiment, could improve NASA's data rates for communications with future spacecraft by a factor of 10 to 100. OPALS has arrived at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida from the agency's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, Calif. It is scheduled to launch to the space station later this year aboard a SpaceX Dragon commercial resupply capsule on the company's Falcon 9 rocket.

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Finally - this needed to happen pretty bad. Weren't we still relying on radio waves to talk with our Mars rover?

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Finally - this needed to happen pretty bad. Weren't we still relying on radio waves to talk with our Mars rover?

Yes, and we will continue to use radio waves to communicate with deep space probes for the foreseeable future. Laser communications may be the future but it is still in its infancy.

Also radio is unaffected by cloud cover, most lasers are not.

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