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GCN : December 2013
NASA's Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer (LADEE) craft, in orbit around the moon studying the moon's atmosphere and the mysteries of lunar dust, has set a speed record for transmitting data back to Earth. LADEE's Lunar Laser Communication Demonstration (LLCD), which uses a pulsed laser instead of radio waves, sent data across the 239,000-mile distance at 622 megabits per second, the agency reported. The month-long test of new communi- cations equipment could form the basis of a new and improved Deep Space Network, which would form the basis of an Internet in space. "LLCD is the rst step on our road- map toward building the next generation of space communication capability," Badri Younes, NASA's deputy associate administrator for space communications and navigation, said in the announce- ment. "We are encouraged by the results of the demonstration to this point, and we are con dent we are on the right path to introduce this new capability into operational service soon." The Deep Space Network is a series of complexes spaced around the world so that one is always facing deep space. Each complex has a 70-meter antenna and several 34-meter antennas, sizes that give them strong signals and the ability to send and receive high quanti- ties of information. They have been suc- cessfully used in many space missions, including the recent robotic missions to Mars. However, space is getting a little crowded, and the radio channels can't overlap, so sometimes satellites and robots have to wait their turn. Lasers, if they can be successful in beaming data to and from Earth, could carry almost unlimited data on their beams, and would be less susceptible to interference. • NASA sets a record with laser space communications BY JOHN BREEDEN II NASA AMES / DANA BERRY NASA's LADEE spacecraft, shown here in an artist's depiction orbiting the moon, carries the LLCD, which is sending data back to Earth. GCN DECEMBER 2013 • GCN.COM 9 NETWORK OPTIMIZATION: Networks in Motion Special Report TOPICS INCLUDE: ONLINE REPORT SPONSORED BY BROCADE TO LEARN MORE, VISIT: GCN.COM/2013OPTIMIZETHENET SOARING DEMAND PUSHES NETWORK OPTIMIZATION NEEDS WAN OPTIMIZATION GETS A CLOSER LOOK OPTIMIZATION AND SECURITY: A TRICKY COMBINATION NETWORK OPTIMIZATION KEY TO CLOUD TRANSITION SDN COULD BE OPTIMIZING WAY OF THE FUTURE