Don Cornwell, LLCD manager said that it was amazing how quickly we were able to acquire the first signals, especially from such a distance.
LLCD is being flown aboard the Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer satellite known as Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer satellite (LADEE), currently orbiting the moon.
LADEE, with LLCD onboard, reached lunar orbit 30 days after launch from NASA's Wallops Flight Facility on Wallops Island, Va., on Sept. 6. During the trip, the LADEE team provided an opportunity for LLCD to make post-flight calibrations of its pointing knowledge.
Cornwell said that being able to make those calibrations allowed them to lock onto our signal almost instantaneously when we turned on the laser at the moon.
He said that a critical part of laser communication is being able to point the narrow laser beam at a very small target over a great distance.
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 N.M., to the LADEE spacecraft in lunar orbit. This breakthrough technology has a laser-based space terminal that is half the weight of a comparable radio-based terminal while using 25 percent less power.
The tests also confirmed LLCD's capability of providing continuous measurements of the distance from the Earth to the LADEE spacecraft with an unprecedented accuracy of less than half an inch.
--ANI (Posted on 29-10-2013)