Well in this case it isn’t such a bad thing.
NASA has developed a new communications technology, the Optical Payload for Lasercomm Science (OPALS). The new tech could increase data bandwidth for future spacecraft by 10 to 100 times current bandwidth.
But there are some significant obstacles to overcome. “It’s like aiming a laser pointer continuously for two minutes at a dot the diameter of a human hair from 30 feet away while you’re walking,” explained OPALS systems engineer Bogdan Oaida of JPL. That will require some excellent aiming. And as the distance grows greater, the aim has to be even more precise.
OPALS is scheduled to launch to the space station later this year aboard a SpaceX Dragon commercial resupply capsule.
Once mounted outside the International Space Station (ISS), a demonstration of the optical communication will be done by transferring a video from the ISS to a ground receiver at JPL’s Optical Communications Telescope Laboratory (OCTL) in Wrightwood, California.
– Ex astris, scientia –
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