NASA bets on laser to improve dialogue between space and Earth

Miami, Dec 3 (EFE) .- The US space agency NASA is going to launch a new laser-based technology into orbit this weekend, which seeks to revolutionize communications and data transmission between space and Earth in order to a future manned return to the Moon in 2025, which will pave the way for Mars.

Puerto Rican Javier Ocasio, who led the construction of the so-called Laser Communications Retransmitter Demonstration System (LCRD, in English), whose launch on a rocket is scheduled for this Sunday, told Efe that it is a satellite that will be “crucial “to streamline communications, which currently use radio frequency.

“We want to have a communication system with which we can send more data, be able to communicate more frequently and send more information when we send people back to the Moon and if we have Mars in mind,” said the Integration and Testing manager of the LCRD mission.

He explained, for example, that sending a complete map of the planet Mars to Earth with radio frequency technology, which is effective but with limitations, would take about nine weeks, while with laser it would take about nine days.

The scientist explained that this Friday the satellite will be transferred to the launch pad at the Cape Canaveral Space Force Station, in central Florida, from where it plans to launch on Sunday morning, with a two-hour window that starts 04.04 local time (09.04 GMT).

The satellite is part of the cargo carried by a ship propelled by an Atlas 5 rocket from the United Launch Alliance (ULA) company that will take off from the Cape Canaveral Space Force Station.

Ocasio explained that once it takes off from Earth, it will take about eight hours for the satellite to reach the geosynchronous orbit in which it will remain, about 35,400 kilometers above the Earth’s surface.

He specified that it is an orbit that was chosen to facilitate communication with the first two ground stations, which were already built, in California and Hawaii, to which two other space stations will be added, one on the International Space Station (ISS, in English) in 2022, and another later as part of the Artemis lunar program.

“The idea is that in the future there will be more to have a communications network in deep space,” said the Puerto Rican.

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