The Lunar Laser Communication Demonstration (LLCD), a project being undertaken by MIT Lincoln Laboratory, NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, will be NASA's first attempt to demonstrate optical communications between a lunar orbiting spacecraft and Earth-based ground receivers. The LLCD space terminal will be flown on the Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer (LADEE) spacecraft, presently scheduled to launch in 2013. LLCD will demonstrate downlink optical communications at rates up to 620 Mbps, uplink optical communications at rates up to 20 Mbps, and two-way time-of-flight measurements with the potential to perform ranging with sub-centimeter accuracy. We describe the objectives of the LLCD program, key technologies employed in the space and ground terminals, and show the status of development of the several systems.
Communications and Radar
2012 IEEE Aerospace Conference; 3-10 Mar. 2012; Big Sky, MT; United States