LGS Innovations develops optical modem for NASA

LGS Innovations, a technology company providing specialized mission-critical communications research and solutions, has been selected to support the NASA Integrated Laser Communication Relay Demonstration (LCRD) Low-Earth Orbit (LEO) User Modem and Amplifier (ILLUMA) project, the company said.

For this pathfinder program, LGS will develop a free space optical modem that will fly aboard the International Space Station as the first demonstration of a fully operational, end-to-end optical communications system. The ILLUMA modem will leverage LGS Innovations´ rich heritage in free space laser communications and fiber laser technology.

The ILLUMA program will use lasers to encode and transmit data at rates 10 to 100 times faster than today´s communications equipment, requiring significantly less mass and power than equivalent RF communications systems. The LGS Innovations optical modem will communicate data from the ISS to ground and back via the NASA LCRD satellite, which will fly in a geosynchronous orbit. This new capability will greatly increase the amount of scientific data transferred from the ISS, while supporting multiple channels of ultra-high-definition video to and from space.

LGS Innovations is a technology company delivering mission-critical communications products, R&D, and supporting services to US defense, intelligence, and civilian agencies and commercial customers around the world. We create advanced solutions in wireless communications, signals processing and analysis, optical networking, photonics, routing and switching, and spectrum management.