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NASA Conducts CubeSat Optical Comms Link Experiment

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NASA carried out a laser communications pointing test through two deployed CubeSats from space. The satellites recorded a flash of light from a laser communications platform aboard the Optical Communications and Sensor Demonstration spacecraft with a short-wavelength infrared camera within the CubeSat Multispectral Observation System payload, the agency said Wednesday. 

NASA noted the experiment hopes to prove the feasibility of an optical communications link between two CubeSat units. The functionality may allow small satellite constellations to transmit large volumes of data in low-Earth orbit. 

“The future of space communications is optical, and this result can be the first step on a road to making optical communications ubiquitous in Earth orbit, even on the smallest satellites,” said Rich Welle, a co-principal investigator for NASA’s OCSD mission at Aerospace Corporation.
CUMULOS is an Aerospace-built three-camera remote sensing payload developed to work with the Integrated Solar Array and Reflectarray Antenna small spacecraft.