SSL Builds off Success of LADEE Mission, Awarded Further Contract from NASA

MIT exploration lunar

LADEE Spacecraft. Photo: NASA

[Via Satellite 11-27-13] Following the success of the propulsion system built for NASA’s Lunar Atmosphere Dust Environment Explorer (LADEE), Space Systems/Loral (SSL) was awarded the next phase of hosted payload accommodation development for the Laser Communications Relay Demonstration (LCRD), which recently completed the important Preliminary Design Review (PDR) process.

The LADEE spacecraft depended on the SSL-built propulsion system to reach its lunar orbit on Oct. 12. In its LADEE updates, NASA stated that the Lunar Insertion Maneuver was “very accurate, and required no course adjustments.”

SSL partnered with NASA Goddard Space Flight Center to place a Laser Communications Relay Demonstration (LCRD) as a hosted payload on a commercial satellite to be built by SSL. The company is now working with its commercial customers to identify an appropriate host satellite for the demonstration. Laser communications technology is expected to provide next generation capability for NASA exploration missions and it may also hold significant benefits for future commercial satellite communications.

The LADEE spacecraft carries the Lunar Laser Communication Demonstration (LLCD) on board, designed, built, and operated by MIT’s Lincoln Laboratory, which recently set a record for transmitting data from the Moon to Earth. The test demonstrated high data rate communications that have the potential to transform communications from outer space. SLL plans to facilitate a more comprehensive demonstration based on the success of the initial test.

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