back to article NASA preps test of broadband-from-spaaaaace project

NASA is getting ready for the first test of a cubesat as a broadband-in-space platform, after receiving confirmation that last week's Optical Communications and Sensor Demonstration (OCSD) satellite is in position and operational. Hoisted into orbit last Thursday, the OCSD CubeSat demonstrator managed by The Aerospace …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Laser tag

    "A second mission planned for 2016 will test communications between two CubeSats, giving NASA and its partners the chance to see if they can point two satellites at each other accurately enough for communications."

    I bet the US military can already accurately point a laser from one satellite at another.

    1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

      Re: Laser tag

      I bet the US, Russian and Chinese military can already ....

      There fixed it for you.

    2. Roland6 Silver badge

      Re: Laser tag

      >I bet the US military can already accurately point a laser from one satellite at another.

      But can only do it reliably if it is friendly...

  2. Michael H.F. Wilkinson

    Given that this laser system is so compact

    Can it be put on a frickin' shark?

    Sorry, couldn't resist

  3. PleebSmash


    Who will collect lunar royalties?

  4. Little Mouse

    Secret sauce?

    10cm on each side doesn't leave much room inside for a power source.

    How does the little cubesat keep that laser shining without breaking the laws of physics?

    1. chris 17 Silver badge

      Re: Secret sauce?

      perhaps it uses some sort of solar power? just a thought.

    2. Alien8n

      Re: Secret sauce?

      It's only a 6 watt laser, you wouldn't need much in the way of solar panels to keep it powered, especially as you wouldn't have to worry about atmosphere. You can buy 6 watt solar panels for charging car batteries that would still fit on a cube sat.

      1. annodomini2

        Re: Secret sauce?

        LASER's are typically 10-14% efficient so you are going to need roughly 60w, still perfectly possible with solar panels in orbit.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    satellite to satellite to gateway?

    Sounds like a mesh network "killer app". 802.11s-pace?


  6. Scott 53


    Ladee probe? Is it just me?

  7. Your alien overlord - fear me

    If Netgear wrote the operating system, it's already pwned.

  8. Nigel 11


    I thought we already had satellite broadband deployed and working. It's expensive but if you live in the middle of nowhere, it's probably the only option. The latency (to geosynchronous orbit and back) is a right royal pain.

    So this is actually a test of of linking low-earth-orbit satellites into a grid or mesh using free-space lasers. If they can't link them up, LEO is fairly useless because your satellite broadband would keep dropping out every time a satellite went out of view. (Not sure why linking them up using microwaves, same as ground-to-satellite links, is ruled out).

    1. Roland6 Silver badge

      Re: Pedantry?

      I think this is actually the first steps in broadband in space. Just think in a few years a resident on the dark side of the moon could be getting 200Mbps full duplex broadband, yet someone living in a short distance away from a BT exchange could still be wrangling sub 2Mbps from ancient copper...

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Pedantry?

      > "Not sure why linking them up using microwaves, same as ground-to-satellite links, is ruled out."

      I'd guess that it's because of the low power available. A laser spreads a lot less so the useful range is longer. Narrow beams are also harder to spy on or even detect, for what it's worth.

      1. Alien8n

        Re: Pedantry?

        If you're looking at spying potential it's also a lot harder to intercept or disrupt a laser signal. Yes I know you could just shove a big block in front of it and that would disrupt it, but I mean in the conventional jamming way. It's a bit obvious when someone moves a physical block in the way, it's not so obvious if you disrupt microwave signals using another signal.

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