NASA Goddard officials last week announced a $6.5 million 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.
The space laser communications experiment also will help NASA gain knowledge and experience that will enable agency experts to design build, and operate cost-effective future optical communications systems and relay networks, NASA officials say.
The SEAKR high-speed digital switching system will help NASA meet the LCRD performance specifications and ensure interoperability across U.S. government space-based laser communications systems.
A high-speed data switching system is necessary for optical relay communications on-orbit during the LCRD mission. SEAKR engineers will build and test the space digital processor under terms of this two-year contract.
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.