GREENBELT, Md.-Spacecraft designers at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., needed a radiation-hardened space digital processor to demonstrate laser communications relay technology to establish optical communications between geosynchronous satellites and Earth. They found their solution from SEAKR Engineering Inc. in Centennial, Colo.
NASA Greenbelt officials announc-ed their intention to award a contract to SEAKR for a rad-hard space digital processor assembly for the Laser Communications Relay Demonstration (LCRD), which will capitalize on optical communications technology developed for NASA and the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Lincoln Laboratory in Lexington, Mass.
The NASA LCRD will demonstrate laser communications between Earth and high-altitude satellites over an extended period, NASA Goddard officials say. This demonstration eventually should enable NASA to develop cost-effective optical communications systems and relay networks.
SEAKR Engineering is the only responsible source to build one LCRD space digital processor by early 2014, and another by mid-2015, NASA officials say. The value of the upcoming NASA contract to SEAKR Engineering has not yet been negotiated.
SEAKR is a pioneer of radiation-hardened, solid-state data storage for space applications, and specializes in space-based data processors, command and data handling units, satellite communications avionics, power suppliers, and reconfigurable computers.
NASA Goddard operates two spaceflight tracking and data acquisition networks, develops and maintains advanced space and Earth science data information systems, and develops satellite systems for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
The center operates NASA and international missions, including the Hubble Space Telescope, the Explorer program, the Discovery Program, the Earth Observing System, INTEGRAL, the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory, the Rossi X-ray Timing Explorer, and Swift.