Laser Communication System Helps ISS to Beam Video
Later this month, NASA is preparing to conduct its first optical communications experiment from the ISS (International Space Station) to Earth. The experiment is called the Optical Payload for Lasercomm Science (short for OPALS). OPALS system will hitch a ride to the ISS with the SpaceX rocket.
The OPALS System (Photo From the Internet)
What is OPALS
The OPALS is a laser system that will significantly increase the speed of communications between the ISS and the Earth. Because of the increasing data size from International from ISS, such as HD video streaming, NASA is seeking ways to improve the data communication efficiency from the ISS back to Earth. The experiment will try to use laser beams to transmit data to the earth. The frequency band used in the experiment is unregulated by the FCC (Federal Communications Commission).
Advantages of the OPALS System
NASA says that current deep space communications send data at speeds of 200 to 400 Kbps, but OPALS will improve the speed up to 50 Mbps. In the future, the laser communications system will push the speed from Mars up to 1 Gbps. It is like to replace the dial-up internet connection with DSL in your home. If the experiment is successful, laser technology will be applied in deep space missions in the future.
Wide Application of Laser in Aerospace
In recent years, with the rapid development of science and technology, laser is widely used in aviation and aerospace. For example, the UV laser from HGLASER was procured by relevant departments to apply in related parts manufacturing and processing work of Chang'e-1 and Chang'e-2.