“The LGS modem will not only provide the space station a next generation optical communications terminal, but will also allow for improved size, weight, and power over previous RF communications systems,” said Kevin Kelly, CEO of LGS Innovations. “By increasing communications efficiency, we will help facilitate a faster exchange of data to the scientific community. We are proud to support NASA’s mission and drive the evolution of photonics technology.”
The ILLUMA program will use lasers to encode and transmit data at rates 10 to 100 times faster than today’s communications equipment, requiring significantly less mass and power than equivalent RF communications systems. The LGS Innovations optical modem will communicate data from the ISS to ground and back via the NASA LCRD satellite, which will fly in a geosynchronous orbit. This new capability will greatly increase the amount of scientific data transferred from the ISS, while supporting multiple channels of ultra-high-definition video to and from space.