Historic Demonstration Proves Two-Way Laser Communications is Possible
On October 18th, 2013, NASA's Lunar Laser Communication Demonstration (LLCD) made history, transmitting data from lunar orbit to Earth at a rate of 622 Mbps. That download rate is more than six times faster than previous state-of-the-art radio systems flown to the moon. LLCD is being flown aboard the Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer satellite known as LADEE, currently orbiting the moon. LLCD not only demonstrated a record-breaking download rate but also an error-free data upload rate of 20 Mbps. The laser beam was transmitted the 239,000 miles from the primary ground station at NASA's White Sands Complex in Las Cruces, NM, to the LADEE spacecraft in lunar orbit.