NASA has successfully transmitted data to and from the moon at speeds of 622Mbps.
The LLCD (Lunar Laser Communication Demonstration) project involved transmitting data from a ground station to a lunar satellite via a beams of light – think LiFi on a massive scale.
The longest distance laser communication ever also demonstrated an error-free upload rate of 20Mbps.
The test was part of NASA’s plans to phase out radio transmissions. As the demand for more data increases, the limitations of radio frequency communication are becoming more apparent.
As we reported in September, NASA hopes that LLCD will lead to 3D video transmissions being sent from deep space.
Badri Younes, NASA’s deputy associate administrator for SCaN (space communications and navigation) in Washington says: “LLCD is the first step on our roadmap toward building the next generation of space communication capability. We are encouraged by the results of the demonstration to this point, and we are confident we are on the right path to introduce this new capability into operational service soon.”
Eventually NASA will embark on the LDCR (Laser Communications Relay Demonstration) project, which aims to develop technology capable of withstanding the conditions of space beyond the Earth’s orbit. This is scheduled to launch in 2017.
By that time, the UK government’s BDUK (Broadband Delivery for the UK) project should have been completed. Superfast broadband speeds of at least 25Mbps will be available to 95 per cent of the UK. It’s highly likely that those living in the remaining 5 per cent will have slower speeds that those enjoyed by lunar satellites and astronauts.
Image: Dave Young/Flickr